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Post Archive
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TwitterOauth API delete tweets
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Illumina's $1000 Genome*
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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More Troubleshooting
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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End to the sonication saga
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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Thwart the NYtimes paywall
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Circle of life
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Curing a plague: Cryptocaryon irritans
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Video: First new fish in 6 months!!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
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The first step is the most important
Thursday, December 30, 2010

Have we really found a stem cell cure for HIV?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This paper saved my graduate career
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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Valium or Sex: How do you like your science promotion
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A wedding pic.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To rule by terror
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
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Hiccupping Hubris
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A death in the family :(
Monday, September 20, 2010

The new lab fish!
Friday, September 10, 2010

What I wish I knew...Before applying to graduate school
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stopping viruses by targeting human proteins
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Blogger Profile

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
New York NY USA

Brian Krueger is the owner, creator and coder of LabSpaces by night and Next Generation Sequencer by day. He is currently the Director of Genomic Analysis and Technical Operations for the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. In his blog you will find articles about technology, molecular biology, and editorial comments on the current state of science on the internet.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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GFAJ-1 Credit: Wolfe-Simon et al
Almost a year and a half ago, NASA ignited a media firestorm after it announced the discovery of a new organism with alien implications. The whole fiasco began when a scientist found a new bacteria in Mono Lake that could grow in the presence of high concentrations of toxic compounds. These types of bacteria are not uncommon on earth. Life seems to find a way to thrive at all extremes and a salty lake in California is no exception to this rule. Researchers have discovered a diversity of life in hot springs, at undersea volcanic vents, and on the cold arctic sea floor. The discovery of this new bacteria; however, was remarkable because the researchers believed that it could use arsenic in the place of phosphate. To the general public, this may sound trivial, but many of the biochemical reactions that provide life require phosphates. The reason why arsenic is so toxic to humans is that it injects itself into all of the processes that use phosphate and prevents those processes from working properly. For example, the molecular backbone that keeps our DNA together is composed of phosphate; the energetic molecules that are produced by the power factories in our cells are composed of phosphate; the specific addition of phosphate to some proteins turns them on or off. Phosphate and its derivatives are essential for life, so to find a bacteria that could function without phosphate and use arsenic in its place was an amazing discovery.

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In the current political climate it has become clear that science is a major target of Republican directed budget cuts. However, the soundbytes of politics do not represent the importance of science in our lives. Because of this, I think it's extremely important that we explain why some of our model systems are so important for understanding how viruses and ultimately human disease work.

In the lab that I run, we currently work on mutating two different herpesviruses. One of these is Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and the other is Murid Herpesvirus 68 (MHV68). Both of these viruses are gammaherpesviruses. In humans, KSHV only really ever becomes a problem in individuals who have a compromised immune system such as those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). KSHV is an interesting virus because its default program is latency, meaning that once it gets into your cells, it turns itself off and waits for conditions which allow it to grow and take over. This is akin to a bear hibernating in the winter. We do not understand how or w . . . More
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