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Beth Kenkel

Beth Kenkel is currently a research scientist at a cell therapy company. She is particularly interested in science communication and viral vectors. Follow Beth on twitter @ElizabethKenkel.

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Synthetic promoter AAVs for cell-type specific expression in retinal cells

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Mar 12, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a popular tool for gene delivery, but it has a drawback: how do you ensure your gene goes where you want it to? Knowing that a gene is expressed in a particular cell type is important not only for translational research, such as gene therapy, but also basic research. To improve cell-type specificity of AAV, work has focused on modifying the outside protein shell, or capsid, of the virus so that it only enters and delivers it cargo to certain cell types. 

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Cell Tracing, AAV

DNA Purification Without a Kit

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Feb 11, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Before you reach for that silica spin column, stop to consider some ways to purify DNA without a kit. DNA purification kits have advantages: they are convenient and provide uniform, consistent results. But they are also less accessible due to their expense and requirement for lab equipment. Plus they create plastic waste. Kits can also have the annoying tendency to runout right when you need them and to accumulate a bunch of unused buffers because you’ve run out of columns.

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Topics: Molecular Biology Protocols and Tips, Plasmids

Early Career Researcher Toolbox: Finding Relevant Papers

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Jan 9, 2020 8:45:00 AM

Finding research papers is not particularly hard. There are millions of them. The real challenge is finding relevant papers. The latest installment of the Early Career Researcher Toolbox will highlight four tools for finding journal articles related to your actual interests while also staying on top of the ever expanding body of biomedical literature!

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Topics: Science Careers, Early Career Researcher, Scientific Publishing

Opto-Nanobodies: Using Light to Manipulate Cell Signaling and Protein Purification

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Nov 19, 2019 9:08:50 AM

It’s time to choose your own protein purification adventure. You want to purify your favorite protein (YFP). You have two options: 

Option #1: Affinity tag purification

You tag YFP and use an affinity column for purification. After binding YFP to the column, you wash several times to remove non-specific proteins, and then elute YFP. 

Option #2: Opto-Nanobodies (OptoNBs) purification

You skip adding a tag to YFP and instead use OptoNBs. You fill a column with OptoNB coated beads and wrap the column with blue LED lights. When you switch off the lights, OptoNBs bind YFP and non-specific proteins flow through. To elute YFP, you turn on the blue lights.

Which option do you choose? 

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Topics: Optogenetics, Other Plasmid Tools, Plasmids

Nanoblades: Tiny CRISPR Ninjas for Genome Editing Difficult Cells

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Sep 26, 2019 8:50:00 AM

CRISPR is a simple and versatile tool for genome engineering, but its utility is dependent on its ability to infiltrate cells. Options for CRISPR delivery include plasmid transfection, RNP electroporation, and viral transduction; but these methods aren’t stealthy enough to gain access to some cells and tissues, such as human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Nanoblades, a new CRISPR delivery method developed by the Ricci Lab and the T. Ohlmann Lab, adds a covert tool to the CRISPR tool box. 

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Topics: CRISPR, CRISPR Expression Systems and Delivery Methods

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