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Beth Kenkel

Beth Kenkel is currently a research scientist in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington. She is particularly interested in science communication and in vitro diagnostics. Follow Beth on twitter @ElizabethKenkel.

Recent Posts

Using ultrasound to image bacteria in vivo: acoustic reporter genes

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Jun 19, 2018 9:38:21 AM

Knowing where bacteria are located within their host is often key to understanding their role in both health and disease. To observe bacteria in action, researchers have developed in vivo bacterial reporters that use fluorophores and luciferases to track bacteria in real time, but each of these reporters has its drawbacks. Acoustic reporter genes (ARGs) overcome these limitations by using gas vesicle reporters that are detectable by an inexpensive and widely available imaging platform: ultrasound.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Imaging, Microbiology

Split-BioID: An Improved Method for Studying Protein-Protein Interactions

Posted by Beth Kenkel on May 1, 2018 9:57:26 AM

One way to define a protein’s purpose is by its protein-protein interactions (PPIs). These interactions are often modeled as binary relationships, i.e. protein A interacts with protein B; but proteins are social biomolecules. They can be part of multiple dynamic and overlapping complexes that have distinct functions. Many existing methods for identifying PPIs, such as affinity purification mass spectrometry (AP-MS), lack the ability to specifically identify proteins that interact with a particular protein  complex as opposed to an individual protein. The Bethune Lab has overcome this limitation by creating Split-BioID, a spatiotemporally controllable version of the proximity-dependent biotinylation technique BioID. The key advantage of Split-BioID is that it allows for the validation of a binary PPI as well as the identification of additional interacting factors.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Hot Plasmids

Delivery Methods for Generating iPSCs

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Apr 17, 2018 9:37:57 AM

The field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been around for 10 years. In that time, scientists have used almost all available approaches for generating iPSCs. The generation of iPSCs is relatively simple in concept: ectopically express a cocktail of stem cell reprogramming factors and wait for cells to de-differentiate. However it’s difficult, especially as a newbie reprogrammer, to decide which method to use. This post provides a brief overview of reprogramming methods with the goal of helping readers choose a strategy suited to their research.

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Topics: Stem Cells

RANbodies: Reporter Nanobody Fusions

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Apr 10, 2018 8:56:44 AM

Antibodies are a go-to tool for detecting a protein of interest in cells and tissues. Although antibody production is well established, it’s also a process that’s difficult for individual labs to complete. The nanobody based RANbody platform from the Sanes Lab overcomes this limitation and allows for the flexible design and small scale production of antibodies.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology

Plasmids 101: Secondary Nanobody Toolbox

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Feb 27, 2018 9:04:41 AM

Western blots. ELISAs. Immunofluorescence. What do all of these techniques have in common? They all typically require secondary antibodies, frequently of the mouse or rabbit variety. While antibodies certainly aren’t “broken,” their production does require continued animal sacrifice. Could there be an alternative method for immunodetection? Enter the Görlich lab and their anti-mouse and -rabbit IgG secondary nanobodies toolbox. Nanobodies are like tiny antibodies which work just as well, if not better, than antibodies for all of the above listed molecular techniques, but they can also be expressed in bacteria and extracted with common protein purification methods. Read on to learn more about nanobodies and how their structure and function compare to IgG antibodies, as well as how to produce them for use in your lab.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Plasmids 101

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