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Tips for Technical Support Calls

Posted by Eric J. Perkins on Sep 20, 2016 10:39:02 AM

I’ve answered hundreds of phone calls and thousands of customer service emails in my six years as a senior scientist at Addgene. Having spent that long in customer service, I've daydreamed about the ideal customer service interaction - one that gives our customers the most utility in the least amount of time. Though I now spend far less time answering help emails and phone calls, I feel compelled to share my years of accumulated wisdom so that you, the customer, can get the most out of your email or phone call. Though my experience is based solely on my time at Addgene, I’m confident that these tips and tricks will apply to any biology-related customer support interaction.

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Topics: Inside Addgene, Lab Tips

Grad School Advice Part 1: Picking a Lab and a Project

Posted by Tyler Ford on Sep 1, 2016 10:30:00 AM

In this two-part series, we sit down to talk with two senior graduate students, Ben Vincent and Niroshi Senaratne, from the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard University to get the scoop on the ups and down of graduate student life. Senior graduate students can sometimes be elusive or have a certain mystique that makes them difficult to approach for the youngster just starting in the lab, but they are exactly the people you should talk to if ruminating the trials and tribulations of the modern PhD program. Don’t be fooled! Most senior graduate students are friendly and full of useful advice. Stay tuned for concrete advice on how to pick a lab and a project.

Listen to Part 2 Here!

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Topics: Lab Tips, Career Readiness, Podcast

Site Directed Mutagenesis by PCR

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger, Kristian Laursen from Cornell University.

Site directed mutagenesis is a highly versatile technique that can be used to introduce specific nucleotide substitutions (or deletions) in a tailored manner. The approach can be used in conventional cloning (to introduce or remove restriction sites), in mapping of regulatory elements (to mutate promoters/enhancers in reporter constructs), in functional analysis of proteins (to perform alanine scanning mutagenesis or targeted substitution of key residues), and in SNP analysis (to introduce naturally occuring SNPs in a plasmid context). The technique is also highly relevant in this age of CRISPR; site-directed mutagenesis generally applies to plasmids, but may also facilitate genome editing. Tailored mutations are commonly introduced to endogeneous DNA through homology-directed repair (HDR) of a CRISPR/Cas9 induced double-stranded break. This site-directed genome editing requires a template of high homology to the endogenous target, yet to facilitate the repair, the template should be resistant to Cas9 cleavage. If a plasmid contains the template, site-directed mutagenesis can be used to mutate the PAM sequence (an NGG sequence critical for Cas9 cleavage), thereby rendering the resulting construct resistant to Cas9 induced cleavage.

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Topics: Lab Tips, Protocols

Gendered Innovations: Why Does Sex of the Cell Matter?

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 21, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The post was contributed by guest blogger Londa Schiebinger, PhD, Hinds Professor of History of Science, Stanford University.

Sex and gender are critical components of biological research that are often forgotten or ignored. If we wish to conduct research that fails less and helps more people, we need to take sex into account. Gendered Innovations is an international, collaborative project—funded by the European Commission, the US National Science Foundation, and Stanford University—that harnesses the creative power of sex and gender analysis for innovation and discovery.

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Topics: Lab Tips

Special Delivery: Fluorophore Targeting for FRET Studies

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 19, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger James D. Fessenden, an Assistant Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Biochemists often struggle to understand how a protein of interest actually behaves. How large is it? What parts of it move when you feed it substrate or add an essential cofactor? How many binding partners does it have and how do they come off and on in a cellular environment? If these are pressing issues in your laboratory, then FRET experiments are a viable biophysical path to answers.

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Topics: Lab Tips, Fluorescent Proteins

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