Author: Chris Givens

Eat Plastic? Don’t Mind if I Do!

Humans do not find plastic bottles tasty. Try as we might, ingestion and digestion of an Auquafina bottle makes for a bad dinner. On the other hand, some bacteria see plastic bottles as a delicacy.

Drug Resistance 1-2-3

Drug Resistance 1-2-3

Recently, I read an article in The Atlantic by Ed Yong, an experienced science writer whom I admire. In this article, Mr. Yong describes a study commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, designed to probe the public’s understanding of drug resistant infections. The conclusions of the…

The Excellent Journey of Bob Bagnell

As I enter the Microscopy Services Laboratory (MSL), a soft southern accent greets me: “Come in- want a cucumber? Help yourself!” Dr. Bob Bagnell, the faculty director of the MSL, is an institution at UNC. Over the course of thirty years, he has developed the…

Need a Mental Incubator? Try your shower!

I am not a morning person. Often, rising from bed seems like harder work than any experiment I will do in the coming day. Coffee helps, but my morning shower is what gets me going. While practicing my hygiene regimen, my sleepy mind awakens. Unconsciously,…

Science Fail Monday: Requiem for a Western Blot

Requiem for a Western Blot: A Haiku on Reversing the Positive and Negative Electrodes Two weeks to prepare It’s time to transfer this gel Data finally? Excitement building Put the wires on backwards Proteins all lost, $%!#   PEER EDITED BY Bailey Peck AND chris givens Follow…

TBT: Darwin’s Doodles

The image before you is known as Darwin’s tree of life. Today, most scientists immediately recognize it as a basic idea in evolutionary theory; yet when Darwin drew it in 1837, it was simply a sketch drawn in an attempt to understand the observations he…

Move over, Mendel

Recently featured in Science, Valentino Gantz and Ethan Bier have developed a novel genome editing method that subverts traditional heritability. Termed the mutagenic chain reaction, this process  can insert new mutations in the genome that automatically spread themselves to neighboring chromosomes. Thus, homozygous mutants are…

Inaugural Science Fail Monday: Filter Fail

For weeks, I struggled to produce a successful harvest of lentivirus. I needed to transduce my pancreatic cancer cell lines with shRNA targeting my gene of interest. This is a common protocol in my lab, and I had never experienced difficulty accomplishing this task before.…