In the Lab

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Category archives for In the Lab

Biology Department Scavenger Hunt!!

Chad asked a fun question last week, and I just got around to finding it yesterday: What items should be on the list for a scavenger hunt through an academic physics department? Let’s now ask: what items should be on a list for a scavenger hunt through a biology department? Taking some hints from Chad…

You Call This a Blog?

Wow, posts at evolgen have been few and far between. A damn, dirty manuscript is to blame. I keep trying to get it write itself, but the sucker refused to oblige. Maybe it would help if I could finish the data analysis. But enough about me. Let’s talk about me Steve Steve. The last time…

Troubleshooting with the Hive Mind

Late last week, my PCRs stopped working. One day I was able to amplify DNA from multiple different templates using different primers, and the next day I couldn’t. This is a major setback for me — a huge chunk of the remaining work I need to complete for my PhD involves doing PCR. If I…

The Lab Fridge

Nothing captures life in the academic sciences quite like Piled Higher and Deeper. In yesterday’s comic, Jorge Cham shows us the disgusting innards of the lab/office fridge. Now, Jorge is a physicist engineer, so his fridge is the one where you’re supposed to store your food and drinks. When a biologist thinks of a lab…

Flying in a Confined Space

On yesterday’s episode of Mythbusters they tested the myth that birds in a trailer decrease the weight of the trailer when the birds take flight. The ‘busters put a bunch of birds into a trailer, weighed the trailer + birds, and then allowed the birds to fly in the trailer, measuring the weight every fraction…

Driving Around Town, Shopping for Fabric

Alex claims I do cowboy science because my protocol for DNA isolation requires cutting plastic with hot razor blades. But before we ever get to cut any plastic, we need to grind up the flies. I don’t have any pretty pictures of this process, but I can capture the essence in words (picture may come…

On the Use of Elevators in Research Buildings

Allow me to set the stage. I just emerged from the autoclave room with a cart full of hot, steamy, dirty vials and bottles of Drosophila media in tow (see image below the fold). The glassware had been the home for thousands of flies for a period of over a month. What started out as…

Lab Coats & Gloves

Biologists often wear rubber gloves when doing their research to protect them from the nasty chemicals they’re working with and to protect their samples from contamination. I’ve been known to bitch about people not removing those gloves prior to entering common areas — touching things they shouldn’t be touching with gloves. This could lead to…

Lab Mishaps and Stuff

The funniest lab accident? There was the time I spent an entire day trying to make electrophoretic gels using distilled water instead of buffer. The agarose suspended fine in the distilled water, but I couldn’t get it to solidify. I kept remaking the agarose solution and never got anything worthwhile. The next day, I asked…

Keep Your Gloved Hand Away From Me

I’ve got another pet-peeve-itch to scratch, so I’m picking up a tall glass of haterade. I’m walking down the stairwell in my building, and I encounter someone heading upstairs carrying a styrofoam container (I can’t tell what’s in it, but it’s probably filled with ice and something worth keeping cold). We approach the door to…