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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

Management for Scientists: What Makes a Good Manager Anyway?

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Dec 9, 2014 9:22:00 AM

 This is the first in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

 

“I'm slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can't motivate people to do things, you can only demotivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist

If that is all it takes, then how come there are so many bad managers? New managers are rarely chosen because they have demonstrated skill at managing and this is especially true in science. It is assumed that if you are good at science and you are smart, you can be a good manager. The kind of smarts and the type of skills that it takes to be a good scientist are not the same ones it takes to be a competent manager (much less a really good one). While getting your PhD or doing a postdoc few science trainees will have opportunities to work on Emotional Intelligence or to hone delegation skills, for example.

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Topics: Career, News, Management for Scientists

Make a Splash: Notions of Scientific Impact Are Evolving

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 5, 2014 9:54:09 AM

Of course, all of you toiling away in laboratories this holiday season want the work you are doing to have an impact, to move science forward, or perhaps even society. One obvious way to do that is and has been to publish in journals with a high “impact factor,” a measure that dates back to 1975 and is based on the average number of citations for recent articles. Of course, a publication in Science or Nature is always nice, but in the wired world we are living in, there are plenty of other ways to define and measure scientific impact.

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Topics: Career, Scientific Sharing

Interview: Hodaka Fujii on enChIP, New CRISPR Tools, and More

Posted by Larissa Haliw on Dec 2, 2014 2:23:00 PM

Hodaka Fujii, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Osaka University. The Fujii lab specializes in developing novel technologies to analyze molecular mechanisms of genome functions such as epigenetic regulation and transcription by using locus-specific chromatin immunoprecipitation (locus-specific ChIP). These methods consist of insertional chromatin immunoprecipitation (iChIP) and engineered DNA-binding molecule-mediated chromatin immunoprecipitation (enChIP), both developed in the lab. In June 2014, Dr. Fujii joined Addgene's Advisory Board. 

Addgene: Your lab has worked extensively with enChIP systems. Can you describe this technology and its advantages?

Fujii: In the last several years, my lab has been working on development of technologies for biochemical analysis of genome functions such as transcription and epigenetic regulation. To elucidate molecular mechanisms of regulation of genome functions, we need to identify molecules associated with specific genomic regions of interest in a non-biased manner. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to isolate specific genomic regions while retaining molecular interactions.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Interview, Investigator Feature

How Exercise Purges Stress and Keeps Depression at Bay

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Nov 25, 2014 11:02:00 AM

It’s well known that exercise can help fight stress and depression, and now researchers have reported a mechanism based on studies of transgenic mice that helps to explain how it works. The findings in a recent issue of Cell demonstrate how PGC-1a1, a transcriptional coactivator induced in skeletal muscle by exercise and endurance, protects the brain from depression.

Mice that are genetically modified to produce extra PGC-1a1 only in their skeletal muscle show resistance to stressful circumstances – including unpredictable loud noises and flashing lights - that sent average, control mice into depression. In case you were wondering, depression shows up in mice as poorer performance on forced swim tests and less interest in sweets.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, News

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