About Chris Givens

I’m a PhD candidate in the Tzima lab at UNC, studying forces and how they shape blood vessels. I specifically study atherosclerosis, which is the disease that clogs vessels with unhealthy plaques. In addition to my research, I am also interested in building trust between the public and the scientists they fund. The implications of biomedical research are increasingly personal and technical, so effective communication between scientists and the public is key to ensuring the continuation of interesting and effective research. I am the former Content Editor for The Pipettepen. My interests include writing about weird bits of nature, the history of science, drug resistant infections, and bioethics. Oh, and let’s not forget about beer brewing.

by Chris Givens March 31, 2016

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.

by Chris Givens December 31, 2015

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 … Continue reading

by Chris Givens October 27, 2015

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 … Continue reading

by Chris Givens June 4, 2015

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, … Continue reading

by Chris Givens June 1, 2015

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 … Continue reading

by Chris Givens May 28, 2015

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 … Continue reading

by Chris Givens May 2, 2015

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 … Continue reading

by Chris Givens April 27, 2015

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 … Continue reading