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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 6759 | Comments: 0
It's been a long run and we have a strong readership of the press releases but sadly I no longer have the time or the interest to continue posting press releases on the site.  My additional work commitments here at Duke have really limited the amount of time I can devote to this and grabbing the press releases every night/morning for an hour or two just became tedious.  I'd like to spend my free time doing more creative things so hopefully I'll give my neglected blog some attention over the next few months.

To those who have been loyal followers of the press releases: Thanks for your devotion and continued support.  It does pain me to stop posting the press releases knowing they are served to nearly a million visitors a month, but I just do not have the time or desire to continue these activities.  I will, however, continue to post/link to mainstream news stories and blog posts I find interesting, so keep an eye on twitter and the right hand column here on the blogs.  I'll be adding a "from the web section" shortly.

The blogs will still be here for anyone that would like to use them as an outlet.  Just send me an email or contact me on twitter!

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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 2378 | Comments: 0

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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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 3927 | Comments: 7
Last by Martin J Sallberg on Feb 15, 2013, 6:18am
Open science is a wonderful concept, but what happens when reporters start writing stories on data that has not been properly reviewed and vetted by the scientific establishment? Before this week, I had never really considered this question. Open science at its core is a wonderful utopian idea where scientists do their work in the open and publish their notebooks in real time on the web for everyone to see. The idea is that with this kind of transparency, better science will be done and scientists can collaborate more easily. Because all of the data will be on the internet and searchable, more scientists will be able to benefit from the open resource. Of course, there are numerous criticisms of open science. One being that it will be extremely easy for researchers in highly competitive fields to be scooped by competitors who have bigger labs or more resources at their disposal. However, it didn't occur to me until I saw stories popping up that open science could be abused by the media.

Almost a year ago, NASA held a press conference touting that it had found "alien" life. A group of researchers reported that they had found a bacteria (GFAJ-1) in Mono Lake that incorporated arsenic in place of phosphate in its DNA backbone. This press conference and the sub . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 2497 | Comments: 2
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Oct 17, 2011, 11:55am
AARP put out a commercial a few months ago deriding wasteful spending in Washington. Unfortunately, the soundbytes don't accurately represent the full story behind the spending. Have a watch before continuing.

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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 610 | Comments: 0
Wow! Mrs. Irish has posted pictures of her students using the microscope, slides and workbooks that we helped purchase for her classroom. This is exactly why we work so hard to try to bring in donations through the DonorsChoose program.

There are still 60 or so unfunded projects on our giving page, sp please stop by and help in any way you can.

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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 2056 | Comments: 0
Well, it's that time of year again. It's the annual Donor's Choose drive to promote scientific literacy in grade school classrooms. The LabSpaces crew has once again teamed up to select a variety of projects to to fund to help bring new materials into classrooms to enrich students and their scientific education. Yesterday, we gave $60 to a project in Naples, FL to obtain microscopes and slides for an underpriviliged grade school classroom. The email message from the teacher was exceedingly heartwarming:

Dear Brian, Shanna Hodgson, Lauren Ledesma and CenturyLink,

I cannot thank you enough for your generous donation to my classroom! I can't wait to see the looks on my student's faces when I tell them what is on the way to our classroom! My students will be so excited to use this microscope! You just opened their eyes to science. We can't wait to get these great resources and put them to work in our classroom. Your genorosity means so much to my students and myself! Once again, thank you so much for opening up your hearts to my classroom. Words cannot express how grateful we are!

With gratitude,
Mrs. I

Giving to Donor's Choose is simple and every little bit helps. I ask you to please visit our giving page where we have selected 70 projects to highlight and hopefully get funded by the end of the month. I will be spotlighting my favorites over the coming weeks and working hard to bring science into these children's lives. Please help me by donating and forwarding this link to as many people as you can. It's for science :)

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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 1634 | Comments: 6
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 22, 2011, 2:23pm
Here's a true timelapse video of a day in lab. Pictures were taken every minute for 24 hrs. The video goes from about 4am to 4am the next day.

And because someone asked...The images were taken with a GoProHD Hero camera and then compiled in Windows Live MovieMaker. Images are displayed for 0.1 seconds.

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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 525 | Comments: 0


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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 643 | Comments: 0


I've been MIA for the last few months. It seems like everything's been piling up lately. I'm going to try to get back on schedule with a post per week. Don't hold me to that though!

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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 1617 | Comments: 6
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Mar 23, 2012, 9:13am
A quick update on the side project since I'm procrastinating writing a short fellowship grant... About a month ago I realized why my sonications were not working. It turns out that when I moved to Florida from my Graduate work at Iowa, I didn't update my ChIP protocol to reflect a reagent change. At Iowa, we had been using 16% paraformaldehyde as our crosslinking agent. Unfortunately, I was throwing 37% formaldehyde in there instead meaning that I was way over crosslinking my samples which explains why I was having such a hard time shearing the DNA. I practically cemented all of the proteins in the cell together. Anyway, I had some more downtime this week waiting for a new batch of cells to grow for a massive timecourse experiment involving 3 timepoints and 10 different immunoprecipitations for cool proteins. I used this waiting period to optimize sonication conditions with the fancy programmable sonicator.


Misonix 4000, power 60, 30s on 1 min off. Numbers above lanes equals the number of cycles




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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 1526 | Comments: 1
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Apr 24, 2011, 7:31pm
I've been working on this project on and off for a few months now. You may remember my previous post about attempting sonication trials. Unfortunately, things in lab have been busy trying to get a new graduate student started and troubleshooting problems with other experiments so I haven't had as much time to devote to this project as I would like. I've spent the past month or so trying to optimize my sonication conditions on a sonicator that's in my building, and I've gotten less than spectacular results (I've tested at least 10 different conditions on this machine ex: buffers, cell densities, sonication intensity, sonication duration). I'm looking to break my DNA up into short 100-300 base pair fragments and previously I was only able to get them down to about 600. I decided it was time to test other sonicators and here are the results.


Fisher 100 sonic dismembrator vs Misonix 4000 - 1/8" tapered tip.1 mL of RIPA buffer containing 1x107 cells. Numbers above the lanes indicate the number of cycles that were done (30 seconds on 1.5 minutes of rest between cycles)

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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 6242 | Comments: 3
Last by Mike Bramnik on Mar 26, 2011, 11:09pm


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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 9771 | Comments: 13
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Feb 07, 2011, 10:23am
"This is the one thing you never want to mess around with. You'll wake up in the middle of the night crying like a baby and you'll have no idea why." These were the sage words of my undergraduate advisor, it's too bad they got discarded with everything else that I learned in undergrad.

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My scientific career has been filled with plenty of misadventures and screw ups. Most of them are really boring mistakes that didn't involve bodily harm, and only resulted in weeks of repeated work or extended nights in the lab re-preparing samples. Though, every good scientist has an epic fail story locked away in their skeleton closet. I think many of us go into science in the beginning thinking that we're unstoppable know it alls. That is until some event punches us in the gut to tell us, "Open your eyes and pay attention or else next time I'm going to aim a little lower and negatively affect your chances of reproduction."

When I was in undergrad, I worked on a bunch of projects ranging from ecology field studies to molecular biology projects in plants and fish. One of the last projects I worked on was one where we were trying to determine if fish bacterial infections could be transferred from mother to egg. This project involved c . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 2718 | Comments: 3
Last by Suzy on Jan 29, 2011, 10:52am


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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 1509 | Comments: 1
Last by Cath@VWXYNot? on Nov 29, 2010, 11:25am


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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 17784 | Comments: 136
Last by Isabel on Nov 26, 2010, 3:02pm
With the launch of this year’s “Rock Stars of Science” campaign, there’s been a lot of talk about how to best promote science. I’m no marketing guru, but I am a scientist. This latest campaign is better than last years', only because it’s more diverse, but I think it really misses the boat. Is the public really going to be inspired by a couple of pictures in GQ of scientists looking uncomfortable and over dressed in the presence of Rock Stars? The most appalling aspect of this campaign is that there is no highlight of the researchers or their science. There truly are some science all stars in this group, many of which are well spoken.

However, the Rock Stars of science pages in GQ only list the scientist’s name and title, while the “Rock stars” get a one or two sentence summary of how awesome they are for standing in on these pictures. What’s the real focus of this campaign? To promote Bret Michaels’ latest reality TV dreck? If a reader wants to actually understand why these scientists were chosen and what they’re doing to cure disease, they have to visit the website. I find it hard to believ . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 739 | Comments: 14
Last by Thomas Joseph on Nov 23, 2010, 12:01pm






I'm back! And here's an early treat from my photographer and good friend, Todd Adamson

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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 1114 | Comments: 6
Last by Image Goddess on Nov 10, 2010, 3:03pm


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