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The CRISPR phenomenon

Cas9, the DNA editor of the CRISPR system. Graphics by Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley

“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow” Edward Teller

Scientific progress is the end result of current and past research. Not many scientific discoveries in history have singularly influenced the human kind, especially those that their discovery ignited further rapid successions of discoveries. The development of the atom bomb is one such example, in which 12 years of scientific research brought a concept held by Dr. Leo Szilard (1933) to realization and the devastation of two Japanese cities. The CRISPR phenomenon another discovery associated with rapid technological progression and which inspires so many  scientists world wide.

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10 items you must have when working and commuting

Commuting and working

A century ago, most people worked at their home proximity, most of their day was centered on labor and less on traveling. Today, with the expanding globalization culture and the availability of fast transportation means, many people commute tens and even over hundred kilometers from their home to their place of work. However, fast as transportation is right now, between one to three hours can be wasted due to commuting. Assuming that the average person works ~9 hours a day, this means that at least 10% of our daily time is literally wasted.  In this post I will give tips and ideas how to efficiently use your commuting time to getting things done, whether these are related to the personal or professional aspects of your life.

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Getting the most of the new iPhone operating system: using mobile iOS 7 in the lab


Apple iOS 7

Almost 48 hours post the official release of the brand new iOS 7, and the world wild web is buzzing and bustling with tweets, “how to” articles, complaints and also praises for the face lift apple hinted toward some months ago. From my own experience, and from other millions of iPhone users, it is clear that the 7 is not presenting a revolution in comparison to its past sibling, keeping to the “close box” concept yet delivering a system which is quite robust. Even so, several features (some easily identified others not so) can be a plus for a scientist at their bench (or at their desks). I will go over some of these with the hope that it will make you do more science at the bench with your mobile.

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Crystallography for beginners – part 6b – what to do when the protein doesn’t crystallize? Lysine Methylation

MALDI-TOF analysis of methylated protein

In the previous post I have discussed how limited proteolysis aids in protein’s fold boundaries determination and identification of the minimal crystallizeable fragments or domains. An important factor controlling protein crystallization is surface contact arrays between one molecule to another. Under most circumstances crystallographers can’t know which residue participates in surface interaction and whether this modification will aid in crystallization at all. For this reason lysine methylation, initially developed for isotope labeling of proteins, is a purely empirical method that is another avenue to check when protein doesn’t crystallize.

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Crystallography for beginners – part 6a – what to do when the protein doesn’t crystallize? introduction to Limited proteolysis

Limited proteolysis - from Guttman et al 2013 PLOS ONE

Limited proteolysis – identifying core domains

I will start my “Protein crystallography rescue strategies” series with a rational biochemical approach to determine the boundaries of domains.

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Crystallography for beginners – part 6 – what to do when the protein doesn’t crystallize?

In previous posts I have discussed methods to grow protein crystals and how to monitor their growth. Yet, in many cases the first screen(s) trials will not yield any protein crystals. In such a case, what strategies one should explore on the path for protein crystals? In this and later posts I will discuss these rescue strategies and how they can help in improving your chance to obtain the sought protein crystal.

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Crystallography for beginners – part 5 – monitoring and evaluating crystallization experiments results

So, you’ve set your first plate(s) as I have detailed in my previous post about setting up crystallization plates. That’s great, yet this is only the first half of a crystallization experiment. Now you need to monitor for crystal growth and interpret the result of the crystallization experiments so you know which future experiment to setup to obtain crystals (unless you’re lucky and already obtained a crystal in the initial experiment). It might sound like the fun part yet this step is crucial for obtaining crystals when those don’t come so easily (which is the case for most proteins).

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LinkedIn for graduate students: how to market yourself on the net

LinkedIN

You might be a first year graduate student or a post-doc looking for its next challenge in the academy or in the industry. Whatever goals you have, your career path will rely heavily on your qualifications and experience but not just that; smart marketing/self branding can get you farther than your dry qualification can. Of course, if you have spent enough time in the scientific niche you already know what makes a successful scientist: observations skills, innovative mind, a bit of luck and… healthy marketing capabilities. Scientists sell their ideas every day, whether over a podium or through the flickering computer screens so they might as well harness these capabilities to sell themselves as a brand. I suggest that whether you’ve just started your graduate school or on the last sentence of your dissertation, do yourself a BIG favor, and build your marketing strategy.

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Crystallography for beginners – part 4 – setting up your first crystallization experiment

You have purified your protein and you’re ready for your first protein crystallization experiment. In this post I will give you step by step instructions how to set your first protein crystallization experiment.

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Crystallography for beginners: making the move into protein crystallography – Part 3

Crystals of Human DNA recombination factor, Dmc1
By Takashi Kinebuchi
RIKEN Yokohama Institute
Yokohama, Japan.
(From Hampton Research website http://hamptonresearch.com/)

Some of you must be curious about the science behind protein crystallization. Well, to the astonishment of many novices in the field, protein crystallization is an empirical science, even after so many years of research and no complete knowledge of protein crystallization exist.  It does sometimes can be more art than science which demands minute observational capabilities, experience, persistence and gut feelings. These abilities and the knowledge of your protein’s characteristics will get you closer to crystallizing it much faster than a library full of text books on crystallography.

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