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Academic vs. industry postdocs

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 13, 2018 8:22:32 AM

This post was contributed by Laura Desrochers, a postdoctoral scientist at AstraZeneca.

Why I chose an industry postdoc

I’m currently doing an industry postdoc in neuroscience at AstraZeneca’s Waltham site after doing a brief academic postdoc. Why did I switch? Well, my long-term goal was to enter industry since I was drawn to the idea of working as a team to develop therapies that could directly impact patients. And, to be honest, I’ve never enjoyed grant-writing. The more I talked to people with industry experience, the more I heard that getting into industry early would only help.

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Topics: Career

Starter Guide to induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Part 2:  Reprogramming and Transdifferentiation

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 6, 2018 8:12:52 AM

This post was contributed by Kusumika (Kushi) Mukherjee.

The ultimate goal in the field of regenerative medicine is to replace lost or damaged cells. Here, I will discuss the two major processes by which an adult somatic cell is converted to a different cell type for regeneration and repair and situations where one process is favored over the other.

Visit Our Stem Cell Pages

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Starter guide to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) part 1:  A renaissance in regenerative medicine

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 30, 2018 9:04:26 AM

This post was contributed by Kusumika (Kushi) Mukherjee, editor of Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, a Cell Press reviews journal.

Stem cells are special types of cells that can develop or “differentiate” into more specialized cells with specific functions [1]. In many tissues, stem cells serve to replenish/replace damaged cells that no longer function adequately [1]. Stem cells’ ability to differentiate into multiple cell types makes them useful models for developmental processes and promising therapeutic tools. The two unique characteristics that define stem cells are:

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Topics: Stem Cells

Tips for arabidopsis transformation

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 25, 2018 9:23:48 AM

This post was contributed by Laura Lee, a graduate student at Stanford University.

Arabidopsis is a fantastic model organism for many reasons, not the least of which is ease of transformation. There are many motivations to generate transgenic Arabidopsis, from studying transcriptional and translational dynamics of genes and proteins in living plants, to complementing mutant phenotypes. Arabidopsis is amenable to the floral drip or dip transformation method. The general steps for this method include:

  • Cloning and transforming a plasmid into the bacterium Agrobacterium tumeficans - a plant pathogenic species that stably integrates transfer DNA (tDNA) into the genomes of the plants it attacks
  • Growing the transformed agrobacterium culture
  • Dipping your plant’s flowers in the agrobacterium culture to allow for tDNA insertions into the plant’s germline
  • Selecting for seeds that have the tDNA insertions (usually via seed growth on antibiotic-containing media)
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Topics: Plant Biology, Techniques

Plasmids 101: Simplify cloning with in vivo assembly

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 18, 2018 8:37:05 AM

This post was contributed by Jake Watson and Javier García-Nafría from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Plasmid cloning is an essential part of any molecular biology project, yet very often, it is also a bottleneck in the experimental process. The majority of current cloning techniques involve the assembly of a circular plasmid in vitro, before transforming it into E. coli for propagation. However, while not widely known, plasmid assembly can be achieved in vivo using a bacterial recombination pathway that is present even in common lab cloning strains.

This intrinsic bacterial recombination pathway, referred to as recA-independent recombination, joins together pieces of linear DNA through short homologous sequences at their termini, and likely functions as a bacterial DNA repair mechanism. The pathway is ubiquitous, with successful recombination reported in all laboratory E. coli strains tested so far.

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Topics: Plasmids 101, Plasmid Cloning

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