Archive for: February, 2012

Repost: Are you actually working with a neuronal cell line?

Feb 29 2012 Published by under Evil, Lab, LinkLove

Many labs are either working with or have HEK293 cells frozen back in their repository. HEK293 embryonic kidney cells were cultured from an aborted fetus by Alex van der Eb, a researcher in Holland. Were you aware that they might not actually be of kidney cells and rather of neuronal origin. The cells also made Frank Graham, a researcher with van der Eb, famous for discovering that you could transfect some DNA if you just toss some calcium phosphate in with them.

A scientist by the name of Gerry Shaw was trying to stain 293's with a monoclonal antibody that he created to beta-adrenergic receptor kinase 1 (beta-ARK) which should be expressed in the cells. Wanting to be a proper scientist, Shaw wanted to have a negative control for staining, so he grabbed a neurofilament antibody, which should not stain a kidney cell line right? WTF this and other neurofilament antibodies were able to stain the cells! Scratching your head right, so was Shaw. Using microarray data, it was shown that 293's expression pattern of neuronal genes similar to that of other neuronal cell lines.

So if you are wanting an in vitro model for kidney research, you might want to go get another cell line.

Link to Shaw's data

4 responses so far

Mind over matter

Feb 28 2012 Published by under Evil, Music

I was going to post something today but I have this mind-splitting headache that feels like John Bonham is just breaking in a new kick drum in and putting it through its paces in my skull.  Maybe tomorrow.  Have a good one folks.

No responses yet

Yeah Boy!!!!

Feb 22 2012 Published by under Grad School

Everybody, stop what your doing.  That means you!  This is important.  I just had a major freaking breakthrough in my research, that has been three years in the making.  It isn't of Nobel magnitude but it definitely registers on the Hagen Das scale.  This is so freaking balling and opens up so many doors to me it well makes up for three years worth of:
-beating my head against the wall
-stomping my feet
-and moaning
-throwing temper tantrums
-grunting at loved ones when they ask me how my project is going
-grunting at friends when they ask me how my project is going
-grunting at anyone in general when they ask me how my project is going

Its the sweet victories like today that make all the hard work, sacrifice, and obstacles worth it.  If you'll excuse me I'm going to go dance an Irish jig now.

16 responses so far

Playing with Loggins...

Feb 21 2012 Published by under Music

This came up on my iTunes radio station and I had to just post it up...

This song and bad acting ruined the movie Top Gun for me.

2 responses so far

Knowing when to seek help (and that it exists)

Feb 20 2012 Published by under Grad School

I know virtually all universities have counseling centers and readily make them available to undergraduate and graduate students alike, but feel like these resources are not readily known about.  When I was orientating I think I heard this topic broached for under three minutes and watched as my incoming grad student cohort (and I) rolled their eyes in feigned attention.  But that was really the last I have ever heard about the counseling program.  Now heading into the twilight of my graduate career I can honestly look back and say I should have made use of the counseling.

Graduate school can place an immense amount of physical stress on you what with all the long and strange hours (3:00 am time points suck).  But you are also under so much mental stress at some points in your training that it feels like the weight of the world rest upon your shoulders and one of them is about to pop out of socket from all the pressures.  Honestly it would have been nice to have someone to talk to (outside your normal circle of friends) to just open up to them when life gets too hard sometimes.  I know there is a stigma to seeking counseling and it sucks.  I have heard the quiet whispers about the folks who do and seen the damning stares that others have given them.  It is not fair to put these resources in place to aid those who are hurting and then condemn them for seeking help.

The purpose of this point is to remind folks that these resources do exist, and people are using them, and if you feel the need, you should too.  We all feel the weight of stress but we shouldn't feel alone.

6 responses so far

Final Album List....Intro to Rock

Feb 16 2012 Published by under Music

With the awesome input of the readership, we sort of came to a consensus on some good albums to get a kid into Rock and Roll.

1.  Led Zeppelin-Led Zeppelin II
2.  The Beatles-Revolver
3.  Allman Brothers-Eat a Peach
4.  The Who-Tommy
5.  Jimi Hendrix Experience-Electric Ladyland

After this, I've got to introduce him to arena rock, Zappa, some Metallica, Guns N Roses, hair bands, etc.  Oh man so much good music to navigate this kid through.  And that's just rock, wait till I sit him down to get him to listen to blues or jazz.

4 responses so far

I gotta make this kid hip to music

Feb 15 2012 Published by under Music

So my little cousin is growing up and little dude is interested in music, more specifically Rock and Roll and he wants to listen to some older stuff.  Now I've got to do this kid right and make sure he doesn't fall into the evil clutches of listening to Bieber.  I've been thinking about 5 or 6 pivotal albums to get him started off on his rock education.  I'm going to give you my list and give me some feedback or suggestions that you would have..

1.  Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin II
2.  The Beatles-Revolver (or Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club)
3.  Lynyrd Skynard-Street Survivors (he is southern and this is the epitome of southern rock)
4.  Pink Floyd-Animals (I don't think he's ready for The Wall yet)
5.  Jimi Hendrix Experience-Electric Ladyland)

Let me know what you guys think

19 responses so far

But aren't we also exploiting them?

Feb 14 2012 Published by under Grad School, Lab, Mentoring

I hear the term "exploitation" being bandied around by trainees when they talk about the training regimen of life science research.  The pejorative seems to be tossed around a bit carelessly, I understand that the system sucks and that there are not enough PI jobs for all of us, but lets face it I'm not sitting in sweltering jungles of (insert 3rd world country) stitching together Nike sneakers for $5 a week.  Don't get me wrong there are exploitative PI's, they do exist, but I feel they are a minority.  I'm willing to wager for every Kern, there are at least 3-5 good bosses to work for.

But I pose a question for trainees to sit and chew on for a bit.  Are we not exploiting our PIs?  Do we not wholeheartedly consume their financial and intellectual capital to try and get us to the next step in the game.  Are we not sponging off them for their grant dollars, ideas and projects, collaborations, and other assets in order to take our science to the next level and then take off for our own greener pastures.  Some trainees even get to leave with their projects (or a piece of them) when they move on to take over their own lab (thus negating the feudal analogies that I here graduate students and postdocs whimper about).

There are PI's that will work you like a rented mule and cast you aside when you appear to show the faintest signs of a limp, but are we not also trying to squeeze every ounce of resources and advantages out of them as well?  It is a two way street after all.

9 responses so far

Calling all Houstonians...

Feb 13 2012 Published by under Meetings

I'll be in your neck of the woods for an NCBI workshop on March 13-14th.  Give me some ideas for fun things to do while I'm there, and if anyone wants to grab a bite to eat or a beer, drop me a line.  Oh and where can I rent a horse, I need some fuel efficient transportation while I'm there.

4 responses so far

Dear Genomic RepairDog....

Feb 08 2012 Published by under Evil

WTF are you doing dragging a pair of scissors around in your mouth and tossing your head from side to side, flinging them across the apartment at stuff at 3:27 am?


The guy that feeds, walks, and bathes you

2 responses so far

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