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Eric J. Perkins

Eric received his PhD in Genetics & Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and did his post-doctoral research at Harvard. He is a Senior Scientist with Addgene and has worked at the repository since 2008. He loves that Addgene has given him the opportunity to talk with scientists all over the world, about all aspects of biology, every day.

Recent Posts

Addgene @ Keystone: Thoughts on Precision Genome Engineering and Synbio

Posted by Eric J. Perkins on Jan 15, 2015 8:50:00 AM

It's been about 14 years since I last attended a Keystone Meeting – far too long. Holding these meetings in relatively isolated resorts creates a sense of comradery with fellow attendees from the moment you arrive. Getting off the plane in Bozeman Sunday night, it was easy to spot meeting participants. They were the ones holding poster tubes (or as our baffled flight attendant called them, "long, skinny things") and generally exuding a very-tired-but-very-excited attitude. Riding up to the resort in the shuttle, our driver regaled us with tales of back country skiing, fly fishing, and local grizzly bear attacks. He described one such recent attack as "hilarious". Welcome to Montana!

Though sadly I will not be attending the entire meeting, Monday's talks alone were worth the trip. Dr. Dana Carroll's excellent keynote address was the first of 19 talks given over the course of the day. His talk, which focused on the history of genome engineering from ZFNs through TALENs and CRISPR-Cas nucleases, provided important context for the rest of the day. He was followed by three of the biggest names in the CRISPR-Cas9 field – Jennifer Doudna, Feng Zhang, and Keith Joung. All Addgene depositors! Addgene was mentioned specifically in Dr. Zhang's introduction. His willingness to share reagents so freely with the academic community has clearly made a huge impact on this field.

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Topics: Genome Engineering, Scientific Sharing, Synthetic Biology, CRISPR

Plasmids 101: Protein tags

Posted by Eric J. Perkins on Dec 11, 2014 11:26:00 AM

Protein tags are usually smallish peptides incorporated into a translated protein. As depicted in the accompanying cartoon, they have a multitude of uses including (but not limited to) purification, detection, solubilization, localization, or protease protection. Thus far Plasmids 101 has covered GFP and its related fluorescent proteins, which are sometimes used as tags for detection; however, those are just one (admittedly large) class of common fusion protein tags. Biochemists and molecular biologists who need to overexpress and purify proteins can face any number of technical challenges depending on their protein of interest. After several decades of trying to address these challenges, researchers have amassed a considerable molecular tool box of tags and fusion proteins to aid in the expression and purification of recombinant proteins.

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Topics: Plasmid Elements, Plasmids 101

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