The arguably most fun thing about science is when your supervisor tells you to just do Experiment X to test hypothesis, but then they kind of forget to tell you how complicated the techniques are to perform that experiment, not to mention all the optimization you would need to do. I personally have never done a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), and since I wasn’t in genomics, the most sequencing I ever did was setting up quick reactions for the core facility to tell me that my gene constructs were correctly built. ChIP does sound rather simple when explained in class, but when you read up on the protocols,1 there are some limitations to what ChIP can do, especially given the large amount of starting material you need for the typical experiment. Luckily, in recent years, scientists have started to use an alternative technique called Cleavage Under Targets and Tagmentation, or CUT&Tag, which ABclonal is pleased to support through our antibody reagents.
When I was in college, I enjoyed reading about Chindogu, which literally means “weird tool” in Japanese. The whole point of Chindogu was to make hilariously “unuseless” objects, somewhat like a tool that you might use, but wouldn’t actually buy because it was so absurd. An example of such absurdity is this Hay Fever Hat, and there are countless others that I would recommend you read and laugh about. Although Chindogu are essentially impractical devices meant for laughs, I got to thinking about how I MacGyver’d through graduate school in repurposing equipment and designing new ways to make my lab life easier even as our funding dwindled. Known affectionately as lab hacks, I’m sure you can find some of these on the internet, but I’ll share some of my favorites here.
Since I’ve been living with it for as long as I can recall, I don’t consider my visual impairment a disability. Unlike the millions of people who require corrective lenses, though, my impairment is much more permanent and far less manageable, but it hasn’t prevented me from enjoying life and participating in physical activities. I thought I’d take this time to talk a bit more about most genetic disorders that affect vision, and what is being done to achieve a better understanding to try to reverse the vision loss.
Ever since Kary Mullis (that crazy guy, may he rest in peace) officially invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), an entire generation of molecular biology has exploded across the globe as scientists use PCR for a number of applications, from measuring gene expression to forensics. While the textbook technique is relatively simple, as I (and many other fellow researchers) can attest to from experience, producing an ideal PCR is far more challenging due to multiple factors.
When you consider which of the dozens of biological reagents companies to work with, how can you determine which one is the right fit? There is, of course, a business aspect to making and distributing quality antibody reagents. The source of the antibodies that you rely on for your research will matter in terms of supply consistency, lead time, cost, and the associated services to support your product.
I will admit that I am not a neuroscientist, having focused my research on immunology and cancer cell biology, but I’ve always been aware of Alzheimer’s Disease and the quest for better treatments and an eventual cure. It is because I am not a neuroscientist that I rely on the word of purported experts in the field who have dedicated their careers to finding these answers. There are various caveats like the level of journal the research is published in, the quality of the images (at least to the naked eye), the number of times the research is cited, and the known reputation of the authors, that help to determine the level of trust one can put into the finding. Yet, we find that some things still might slip through the cracks, and this reminds us that we need to scrutinize data more thoroughly to hold each other accountable and maintain trust in science.