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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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How to Prepare for an Industry Interview

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

Congratulations, you’ve just landed an interview for an industry job! You’ve worked hard to earn this opportunity and are excited for this next step. But wait, now you feel a little panicked. You’ve never had an industry interview before. What should you do to get ready for this interview?

Maybe the above scenario sounds familiar to you. It was my experience not long ago. I just recently started working in the pharmaceuticals industry after earning my Master’s in 2016 and then working four more years in academia. During my job hunt, I quickly noticed one of the biggest differences between applying for an academic position versus an industry position is the on-site interviewing process.

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Topics: Science Careers, Applying for Jobs, Early Career Researcher

Multiplexed Capture of Promoter-enhancer 3D Chromatin Structures Using CRISPR

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Jul 2, 2020 8:40:00 AM

Originally published Dec 7, 2017 and updated Jul 2, 2020.

Promoters may be the star of gene regulation, but enhancers and chromatin looping play important supporting roles. Enhancers are cis regulatory DNA sequences that, when bound by transcription factors, can increase a gene’s transcription. Sometimes enhancers are located thousands of base pairs away from the gene they regulate, but are brought in proximity by the looping of chromatin, the complex of DNA and proteins that forms chromosomes.

These long range DNA interactions are often detected with chromosome conformation capture (3C) based methods, such as 5C or Hi-C (Han et al., 2018). Think of 3C methods as taking a snapshot of chromatin looping with the photo “developed” by analyzing DNA sequencing data. While “pictures” generated with current 3C methods provide useful information about chromatin interactions, they are grainy so it’s hard to make out the details. To increase the resolution, the Xu lab created a dCas9-based CAPTURE (CRISPR Affinity Purification in situ of Regulatory Elements) method. The original CAPTURE method was published in 2017 and addressed many of the drawbacks of 3C methods, but could only detect chromatin interactions at one location in the genome at a time (Liu et al., 2017). Recently the Xu lab developed CAPTURE 2.0, an updated version of CAPTURE that detects chromatin interactions at hundreds of loci at once (Liu et al., 2020).

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Topics: CRISPR, Other CRISPR Tools

Early Career Researcher Toolbox: Free Online Molecular Biology Tools

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Apr 14, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Primer design. Plasmid mapping. DNA sequence analysis. We all have our favorite tools for tackling these particular tasks, but they tend to be scattered about the internet. To help you keep your virtual molecular biology toolbox organized, today’s post features a list of free online molecular biology tools all in one place.

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Topics: Plasmid Cloning, Other Plasmid Tools, Plasmids, Early Career Researcher

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

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