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Advice for Moving Into Sales After Your Science Postdoc

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 21, 2014 11:15:00 AM

This guest blog post was contributed by Seán Mac Fhearraigh, PhD, of www.phdadvice.com.

I sold out, well in part that’s what leaving academia feels like for a lot of researchers. For many years I struggled with the questions of “Will I leave academia?” and "What type of science careers would would make a good fit for me?" Whatever would I do next and what options lie ahead of me? Like a considerable number of researchers, I had high hopes of securing tenure in a British or Irish University where I would continue on with my academic dream of studying cell division. However, after 6 years in the business of western blots and cloning, I decided to pack it in. I had just started month 8 of my 3 year Post-Doctoral contract at the University of Cambridge and knew it was time to leave. I really enjoyed my time in the lab, my colleagues and what I was researching, but I decided I needed a new challenge.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Choosing Your Perfect Empty Backbone

Posted by Lianna Swanson on Aug 19, 2014 11:39:33 AM

Vectors (or empty backbones) are frequently used in molecular biology to isolate, multiply, or express the insert they carry in the target cell. These vectors allow you to test the function of Your Gene Of Interest (YGOI) in a controlled environment under various conditions. The first thing you'll need to decide when running your experiment, is which vector will best suit your needs?

At Addgene, we have a vast collection of empty backbones that have been designed, tested, and published by academic scientists. To help you find the vector that fits your experiments, I've described below some of the most frequently requested vectors in our repository and will discuss some of the features you may want to consider as you make your choice.

The first and most important thing you need to know is your expression system or environment. The host organism will determine the type of vector that you will need. You will also have to make sure that your plasmid has been incorporated into the host organism, usually achieved with the proper selection marker or antibiotic resistance.

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Plasmid Technology, Plasmid Elements

SpyLigase Irreversibly Locks Peptides Together for Efficient Cell Capture

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Aug 13, 2014 11:49:04 AM

Mark Howarth’s lab at the University of Oxford is dedicated to generating new tools to manipulate biology based on molecular features found in nature, with the ultimate goal to improve the diagnosis of disease, and cancer in particular. They recently introduced the SpyTag/SpyCatcher system, based on a protein isolated from Streptococcus pyogenes that locks itself together, to produce irreversible protein-peptide interactions. In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March, he and his colleagues took another important step forward by dissecting that S. pyogenes protein into three parts. Their efforts yielded a protein, which they call SpyLigase (Spy comes from the “S” in Streptococcus and the “py” in pyogenes), capable of locking two peptide tags together.

SpyLigase overcomes limitations in the use of peptide tags, which often form only weak and reversible bonds. Howarth’s team has already demonstrated in their PNAS paper that SpyLigase can be used to link affibodies or antibodies against common tumor markers to subsequently capture cancerous cells expressing low levels of tumor antigen. I asked Howarth to tell us more about SpyLigase, its development, and its potential uses.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Interview

How to Make Friends and Meet People at a Scientific Conference

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Aug 7, 2014 9:58:00 AM

There is essentially no better place for a scientist to make new relationships than at scientific conferences. Conferences provide the opportunity to meet people who are interested in the same things you are on a deep level. Right away you have something in common. Namely, the scientific question you are interested in and this is a great ice breaker. Of course, real relationships go further and grow over time, but being interested in the same phosphate of your favorite kinase is a good start.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Career, Networking

Data Freedom: The Expansion of Data Sharing in Research Publications

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 5, 2014 2:51:13 PM

This post was contributed by Jim Woodgett.


Public Library of Science (PLOS) created a stir earlier this year when it announced its data access and sharing policy. Since early March, the open access publisher has required authors to include a note as to where readers may locate data supporting the research reported in PLOS publications. The policy was not an overnight revelation, rather it was the result of consultations between researchers and publishers. Nonetheless, the initial release caused a storm as the organization left open the question of how much data was necessary and reasonable. PLOS has since clarified their data sharing policy and recently announced that of the 16,000 manuscripts that had been processed since the declaration, only a small fraction (<1%) of authors have asked for advice about the scope of the policy. End of story? Not quite.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing

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