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New Tools Enable CRISPRa for Neuroscience Applications

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 2, 2019 8:51:40 AM

This post was contributed by Patrick Miller-Rhodes, a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellow at University of Rochester Medical Center.

During development, complex genetic programs specify and assemble diverse arrays of neurons, forming the neuronal circuits that will later be refined through experience. However, studying the genetic underpinnings of these processes has been complicated by the lack of precise genetic tools for modulating gene expression in the central nervous system (CNS). To address this technological gap, a trio of recent papers describe the development of CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) tools for neuroscience, including transgenic mice, neuron-optimized viral vectors, and high-throughput screening approaches. Here, we’ll highlight these recent advancements and offer commentary on their application to neuroscience research.

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Topics: CRISPR

Science Communication for Everyone

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 16, 2019 9:05:47 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Chinmaya Sadangi, a postdoc at the University of Toronto.

The Addictive Brain was founded in early 2018 with the goal of communicating science to non-scientists. Chinmaya Sadangi, a postdoc at the University of Toronto, created The Addictive Brain to spread awareness about how scientists utilize tax-payer money and government funding for research, and also to encourage women, students, and underrepresented minorities to study STEM subjects.

Here, Sadangi and his team answer a few questions about The Addictive Brain and science communication for general audiences.

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Topics: Science Communication

GFP Fusion Proteins - Making the Right Connection

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 9, 2019 9:13:55 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Joachim Goedart, an assistant professor at the Section of Molecular Cytology and van Leeuwenhoek Centre for Advanced Microscopy (University of Amsterdam).

Tagging a protein of interest with a fluorescent protein to study its function is one of the most popular applications of fluorescent proteins. These fusion proteins enable the observation of proteins in living cells and organisms. Both components of the chimera are encoded by DNA. Since researchers can generate almost any DNA sequence in the way that they like, the design and engineering of fusion proteins is relatively straightforward. However, generating a fusion while keeping all of the native properties of the protein of interest can be challenging. In this blog I discuss strategies to generate fusion proteins and highlight some aspects of their design. 

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Topics: Fluorescent Proteins

Designing Your Chalk Talk for the Academic Job Interview

Posted by Guest Blogger on Mar 12, 2019 9:37:47 AM

This post was contributed by Erik Snappthe Director of Student and Postdoctoral Programs at the

Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Are you currently on or planning to go on the academic job market? In addition to all of the documents you submit, you will need to present a "chalk talk." However, few, if any, faculty job candidates have seen an actual chalk talk. Their first exposure to a chalk talk is usually their own. This is a problem. The chalk talk is effectively a million dollar sales pitch. Given this large sum, one might expect that applicants would work for months to hone a chalk talk. Yet, I often hear, "I have an interview next week and it includes a chalk talk. What should I include in my chalk talk?"

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Topics: Career

CrispyCrunch: High-throughput Design and Analysis of CRISPR+HDR Experiments

Posted by Guest Blogger on Feb 7, 2019 9:16:20 AM

This post was contributed by Greg Dingle, a software engineer with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

We hereby announce the general availability of new a tool for CRISPR scientists––CrispyCrunch! CrispyCrunch is a web app that helps scientists design and analyze batches of CRISPR samples.

We invite you to jump in and try it out, or take a look at our live examples: experiment or analysis. In the rest of this article, we'll explain the thinking behind the tool, its key features, how it works, and how to use it.

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Topics: CRISPR

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