CauseScience Friday -Nov 20th #selfie #cellfie #science

Happy Friday (or should we say, Fri-YAY) from CauseScience!

psgurel– Today I am miniprepping! If you remember last week, I was doing PCR to get a specific DNA construct. After doing PCR, there are several steps before you have nice clean DNA. For the DNA I’m using (plasmid DNA) the final step is to extract your DNA from bacteria.  Lucky for us, several companies make “miniprep” kits that make this process super quick and easy. It takes about 30min, and then you have (hopefully) nice, clean DNA!


crestwind24– This is crazy! I am also doing mini preps of DNA this morning!! SAMESIES!! Preparing DNA is a major part of most labs, as made obvious by todays post. I am making DNA that will label synapses in neurons in C. elegans. Once I have the DNA that I want, we will inject it into developing embryos, and then I will have transgenic worms!! Hopefully with glowing synapses!! This will allow me to visualize connections between different neurons.


CauseScience Friday… more like mini prep Friday!!!

CauseScience Friday!! February 6th #science #selfie

psgurel – I’ve just spent most of my morning in lab meeting, and will spend my afternoon going to a few lectures.  Presenting work and getting feedback is a critical part of science.  Lab meetings are somewhat more informal sessions where the entire lab can get together and discuss specific details on members’ projects. It’s helpful for all involved in terms of troubleshooting, fine tuning direction of the research project, etc.  It’s fun, but can also be somewhat tiring.  Here’s my post lab meeting selfie 🙂



crestwind24 – This morning I came into lab very early to make sure I got all of my experiments done before heading to Philadelphia in the afternoon. One of the things I needed to do was run 4 PCR reactions and then image the products of the reactions using gel electrophoresis. Or more simply, I needed to make specific fragments of DNA from the C. elegans genome, and then make sure I made the correct DNA by looking at its size. When I visualized the PCR reactions separated by size on an agarose gel (top panel), I did not see the size DNA I was making with the PCR. Instead I saw a bunch of randomly sized bands and smears (hence my grumpy face when sitting at the gel imager, bottom left). Luckily, since I was in lab so early, I redid the PCR at a different temperature and got nice crisp bands at the exact size I expected (right bottom panel)!!! I love when molecular biology works!!!

If you missed them, be sure to check out previous CauseScience Fridays!!

Anti-Science Quotable: Michigan Representative Dan ‘Im-a-scientist’ Benishek thinks climate science is bunk


Michigan GOP Congressman Dan Benishek, a former general surgeon, claims he is a scientist and doesn’t believe the many peer-reviewed scientific studies on climate change… even though he believes in peer-reviewed science. He also says, ‘well’ a whole heck of a lot. Check out the video on Huffington Post here.

The climate may be changing, but I don’t think man is contributing to it. Well, I think it’s just the natural course of things. … there’s no scientific evidence that shows any of that. I’m not sure there’s any any evidence to prove that there’s man-made catastrophic global warming. Well, there’s no significant scientific evidence. Well, I am a scientist. You know, I believe in peer-reviewed science. But, I don’t see any peer-reviewed science that proves that there is man-made catastrophic climate change.

@NatureNews and @MitchWaldrop look in-depth at LGBT’s in #science


Nature News has published a terrific article on being LGBT in the scientific community by M Mitchell Waldrop. The article examines acceptance and discrimination faced by LGBT scientists, as well as their comfort level being out and pround at work. It includes personal stories and a number of great quotes from a personal hero of mine, Ben Barres. Thank you Mitchell Waldrop for this article, and kudos to Nature News for recognizing the importance of LGBT issues in science!

Still, without minimizing the challenges that remain, older LGBT scientists stress how far the world has come in a remarkably short time. “When I’m contacted by young people,” says Barres, “I always tell them that the fears are so much greater than the reality. And I always encourage them to be open, because they will be so much happier. If you’re doing good science, if you’re a great teacher — that’s what matters.”

#Science Quotable: Charlie Crist is not a scientist

I’m not a scientist either but I can use my brain and I can talk to one. Charlie Crist, Running for Florida Governor, responding to candidate Rick Scott, who claimed he couldn’t comment on climate change since he is not a scientist.

Continued awesomeness: #97hours of consensus on man-made global warming #science

The 97 hours of climate scientist quotations and caricatures continues! See yesterday’s post describing the campaign from Skeptical Science. The goal of the campaign is to show that 97% or more of climate scientists and experts agree that climate change is happening and is man-made. #97hours or @skepticscience

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Want to be a scientist? Here is what to expect from a scientific career. #science


The Globe and Mail has a nice piece that will answer all your questions about being a scientist, including your possible salary at the various stages of a scientific career. In addition, the article summarizes required education, job prospects, challenges, motivation, and misconceptions.

“There is no single description, but what is unifying is that a scientist is somebody who uses systematic methods and tries to advance knowledge,” says Dr. Salim Yusuf

On job prospects: 

There are entry-level jobs for new scientists, “but people shouldn’t mislead themselves into thinking this is an easy career,” Dr. Yusuf says. “Moving up is a challenge.”

On misconceptions of scientists:

Scientist aren’t the stereotypical dishevelled, socially awkward introverts hiding away in labs, surrounded by test tubes, Dr. Yusuf says. “The nutty professor image” is mostly in the movies, he says. “Most scientists are well-organized professionals that run teams.”

First seen on Twitter via 

How to become a scientist… video from NIH NEI series ‘Ask a scientist’! #science

The NIH National Eye Institute has a series of videos called, ‘Ask a Scientist.‘ Check out the most recent video featuring Dr. Chris Thomas answering children’s questions about how you can become a scientist.

Want to be a Principal Investigator?

Now you can predict the chances of whether you can be or not! predictor here. This report is not surprising and definitely follows the reports that academia is truly biasing science by focusing heavily on the number of high profile publications. Sad that gender played a role, but again, not anything surprising.

This is based on a recent publication (Publication metrics and success on the academic job market) that analyzed what it takes to become a Principal Investigator. Report here.


“We show that success in academia is predictable. It depends on the number of publications, the impact factor (IF) of the journals in which those papers are published, and the number of papers that receive more citations than average for the journal in which they were published (citations/IF). However, both the scientist’s gender and the rank of their university are also of importance, suggesting that non-publication features play a statistically significant role in the academic hiring process.”