Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wall of Shame

This one isn't me but is courtesy of a lab mate this week.

They were expressing concern of not seeing any bands in their DNA gels and in an attempt to troubleshoot asked me if I'd had any problems. Other than "shit" results and slightly faint bands (from having changed the running buffer) I couldn't really help. Labmate pointed out he couldn't see the DNA ladder either.

This happened a total of three times. I asked if they had solved their problem yesterday and they replied,

"it's fixed".

"What was up?"

"someone had swapped the gel tank around so I ran the gel in the wrong direction"

They crossed the beams :)

I told them not to worry, I tried to run a DNA gel with water rather than running buffer once and my solution when the loading dye refused to move was to crank up the voltage. I almost managed to set fire to water...

EDIT: Only noticed I'd titled this "Wal of shame". Oh, the irony.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

spot the difference

The sample on the left right is supposed to be the same as the one on the left. As you can see it is a nice orange colour and no longer transparent despite having not being opened. a colleague pointed this out to the company and while they were happy to refund us they wanted photographic evidence. I'm not sure how rife "media fraud" is within academia but found it quaint how they wanted a photo. So this is what they got. Maybe we should have had a current paper in the background too?

Name the Biologist - week 22

This week should technically be called, "Name the scientist" as he wasn't a biologist. I'm including him though as I read an article on the news claiming he's largely unknown and I don't think that's true. Maybe he's only well known in Science circles or maybe it's just me being drawn to larger than life scientists. Let's see.

As for last week's "genuine" Biologists they were

Monday, 3 September 2012

wall of shame

On Wednesday I tried a transformation which should place mygene-GFP into a plasmid that allows me to make a virus that will eventually allow me to infect and stably express mygene-GFP in cell lines.
I checked it on Thursday and it didn't appear to have worked. In these cases I usually leave them for a few more hours in the desperate (but often worthwhile) hope some colonies will start to appear. The problem was I forgot and I was then away until Monday. Checked them this morning and found there still wasn't anything - although by that point I'd have probably had a plate singing songs from "Joseph and his technicoloured Germcoat".
My response to this was to repeat the experiment again and to check the gel excision for mygene-GFP had actually worked. Then my Padawan student co-worker asked if I'd maybe used the wring antibiotic. "No, it was definitely Kanomycin", I proclaimed. The student replied "but all the viral vectors are ampicillin resistant".
"In that case I've just conclusively shown they can't grow on Ampicillin plates"

I'm deciding to believe that it was the antibiotics that have been in my bloodstream for the last week that was responsible for this work-related antibiotic gaff...

Name the biologist week 21

This week is a bit trickier in that there are 3 biologists to name and a bonus point for what links them. Let's dive straight into it.

Oh and this guy (he pops up a fair bit - definitely not a one trick pony)

That should probably help you on your way.

As for last week, the answer was Craig Venter. Probably best known for setting up a rival to the Human Genome Project in the form of Celera Genomics using "shotgun sequencing". Interestingly, his genome was one of the 5 sample genomes used by Celera for sequencing the human genome. While many claimed the clone approach was more accurate, the competition spurred on the Human Genome Project and Shotgun sequencing has been used for other genomes during and since.
Currently he is best known for his work on synthetic biology in the form of the J Craig Venter Institute, which has some fascinating ideas as well as opening up the idea of owning "life-forms".