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Aliyah Weinstein

Aliyah Weinstein is Addgene’s Marketing and Communications Manager. She has a research background in cancer immunology and is engaged in science writing and advocating for equity in STEM. Outside of science, Aliyah enjoys yoga, board games, and traveling. You can find Aliyah on Twitter @desabsurdites.

Recent Posts

Antibodies 101: Introduction to Antibodies

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on January 19, 2021

You may have heard the term antibody tossed around in the news or in the lab. But what exactly is an antibody, and how is a component of the immune system useful as a research reagent? Let’s find out!

What is an antibody?

Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins, are ~150 kDa, Y-shaped proteins that are both a natural part of the immune system and a tool that can be used for a variety of research applications. Within the immune system, antibodies are produced by B cells. They bind to proteins on the surface of extracellular pathogens such as parasites or microbes, or to proteins expressed on the surface of cells that have been infected with a microbe, to trigger immune cascades that clear these infections. Anything that generates an antibody response in the immune system is referred to as an antigen.

The ability of antibodies to bind proteins is useful for research applications as well because they allow scientists to target specific proteins they’re interested in. Once a protein is targeted with an antibody, you can visualize the protein via fluorescence or chemiluminescence, precipitate the protein out of solution, or isolate cells expressing this protein. Read on to learn more about antibodies and how to use them in the lab!

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Topics: Other, Antibodies

Congratulations, Deck The Lab winners!

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on January 14, 2021

2020 was a year like no other, with many scientists working remotely instead of from the lab. Nonetheless, Addgene’s annual Deck the Lab competition drew upon the creativity of the community, who delivered impressive science-themed holiday decorations yet again. This year, we had two different categories: one for decorations in the lab, and one for home.

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Topics: Fun at Addgene, Addgene News

Reagent Repositories Are Speeding up Science During the Pandemic

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on August 04, 2020

Scientists need fast access to the tools required to study SARS-CoV-2, but with many academic research labs closed during the pandemic, it’s hard to get these reagents. However, when reagents have been made available through a repository, they remain accessible during these times. Centralized reagent repositories, also known as biobanks, are crucial for the advancement of SARS-CoV-2 research because they provide rapid access to validated reagents, especially during a time when these materials may not be available from their original sources.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Material Sharing, COVID-19

Genetically-encoded Sparse Cell Labeling - A SPARC of Innovation

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on May 21, 2020

Until recently, there were no completely genetic tools that would allow researchers to label just a fraction of a single genetically-defined subset of cells. By labeling fewer cells in a population, it’s easier to visualize individual/non-overlapping cells. While transgenic animals are commonly used to specifically manipulate a cell type of interest in an organism, all cells of that type are affected. Previous tools to overcome this restraint include an AAV-based sparse labeling system where a limiting amount of AAV are injected into the brain of Cre-expressing mice to trigger recombination and expression of a transgene (Lin et al., 2018). However, this system requires precise titration of the AAV. So far, tools to overcome this challenge in Drosophila require heat-shocking the system or using chemical inducers of gene expression (del Valle Rodríguez et al., 2011). 

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Topics: Fluorescent Proteins, Fluorescent Imaging

Scientific Sharing in the Time of COVID-19: Databases and Resources

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on May 12, 2020

As the world has battled the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few months, the scientific community has seen a shift towards prioritizing research into this disease. A key reason this research has been able to progress so rapidly is scientific sharing. Already we’ve seen articles about COVID-19 on preprint servers and in journals, and researchers have been making new materials like plasmids available to scientists around the world. To support this pace of research, new, centralized databases and centers to support the sharing of materials and data associated with COVID-19 research have rapidly been developed.

We asked the individuals behind some of these new platforms what their motivations were for developing these resources and why they value scientific sharing as the scientific community strives to understand COVID-19. While the specific motivations vary, everyone we spoke with sees sharing and collaboration as the best way that the scientific community can make progress towards understanding this disease.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, COVID-19

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