Friday, May 9, 2014

One of my favourite memories: The good, the bad and the ugly

Last year, a new postdoc (that's short for postdoctoral fellow; she's a woman, but in science we call women fellows) showed me something she found on the Internet that she thought I would enjoy.

She was right: because I'd made it three years previous for reddit's biology sub!

A Western Blot (which we call a "Western") is a method for isolating and visualizing individual proteins. The bands you see on the left are what they're supposed to look like; the leftmost lane is a control, the four bands next to it are properly isolated. The proteins in the middle blot are not isolated, there are lots of proteins in each lane, and on the right I have no idea what's goin' on.

It's called a Western due to typical scientist whimsy: Dr. Edwin Southern invented the Southern blot, and now there are Westerns, Easterns, Northerns, Northwesterns, Far Easterns, I can't keep track of them all.
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