On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram I'm taking walking people through some of the biochemistry work I do, as well as fundamental biochemistry concepts using and I'll be re-posting some of the posts here. (You can find links to all of my past posts here: http://bit.ly/2OllAB0). Feel free to ask questions and call me out if I slip into jargon!

Some Selected Posts

HBCUs and their STEM successes

From Kamala Harris to Stacy Abrams to Raphael Warnock, HBCU alums have been in the news lately. And I hope […]

Cystic fibrosis science: history, present, & future

You might not stop to think about it much, especially with all the talk of coronavirus transmission, but it’s pretty […]

Urea PAGE and comparison to SDS-PAGE

Today, I brought out the big gels! And, although they might look like they’re just scaled-up versions of the SDS-PAGE […]

Balancing chemical equations

You put some molecules in, you get some molecules out, you count the atoms within to be sure they balance […]

Measuring protein concentration – the many ways…

Today I finished a couple of protein purifications that I started yesterday, and I wanted to figure out what my […]

Protein cleaning – recombinant protein expression and chromatography purification workflow

You’ve gotta make a mess to get proteins clean! I do a ton of these “cleanings” (protein purifications) because as […]

Welcome to Wikipedia editing

Wikipedia is free to edit, so we each can play a part, so today, as I work on 2 articles […]

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) & structural biology

Dying to know “What’s the deal with cryo?” Cryo-Electron Microscopy (CryoEM) has transformed the structural biology field in recent years, […]

western blot workflow

SDS-PAGE lets us separate proteins by size, but doesn’t tell us what the proteins we separated are. If you add […]

Agarose gel electrophoresis

AGAROSE GEL ELECTROPHORESIS provides a way to separate differently-sized pieces of DNA! With the start of the new year, many […]

Candles, combustion, and waxes

I’m finally getting around to de-decorating and, putting away Hanukkah candles, I realized that because Hanukkah fell during #20DaysOfAminoAcids, I […]

Fermentation & leavening

I was watching one of those “2020 in Review” TV specials and it was talking about how a lot of […]

Me, Dr. Alexandra Newton, and the IUBMB

Happy New Year! New Year, same me – but who is me? I’m Bri! At least to people who know […]

Party popper chemistry

Don’t be a party pooper! Learn the science behind PARTY POPPERS!  Because knowledge is a gift that stays after the […]

Metabolism & energy-making: emphasis on glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation

You might not stop to think about it often but, even when you’re sleeping and not scurrying around the lab […]

ATP as “energy money”

Energy – need more energy! Need the ATP ATM ASAP! Ive been using up a lot of my energy lately […]

Creatine, ATP regulation

Our muscles don’t wait until a crisis to stock up on essentials – they “hoard” some energy – but not […]

Coal and other carbon allotropes – and Rosalind Franklin’s cool coal chemistry contributions

On Christmas morning, millions around the world looked in their stockings & hoped not to see coal. – yet they’d probably love […]

Nucleic acids

2020 has been quite a year… but the DNA lights still got put out for display at my mom’s house! […]

Amino acids – all* of ’em!

I’m not a big jewelry wearer – a lab coat cape’s as accessory-ish as I normally go… But I LOVE […]

Pyrrolysine – the 22nd amino acid

PyrRolysine – NOT pyro-lysine – it’s lysine with a pyrrole group, not lysine on fire! Though its discovery as the […]

Selenocysteine, selenoproteins, translation trickery

Wait a Sec! I thought U said this was #20DaysOfAminoAcids?! I know this is supposed to be #20DaysOfAminoAcids, because there […]

Serine, serine proteases

Sometimes serine is serene – other times it’s sabotaging other proteins by providing the blade to “protein scissors” called serine […]

Glutamate, ionic “bonds,” salts

MSG? Fine by me! It’s just a salt of glutamate, so why does everyone gotta hate? From giving food its […]

Glutamine, Huntington’s disease, genetic diseases & mutation types

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive motor, cognitive, and psychological deterioration. It […]

Asparagine and asparaginase treatment

You never know where a scientific exploration will take you – I learned so much about so many different things […]

Aspartate, the malate-aspartate shuttle

I’ve always been more interested in the super close and super small than the super far and super big. So, […]

Arginine, basic vs. acidic amino acids

Arguing about arginine? And what “basicity” means? Today I want to introduce you to the last of the “basic” amino […]

Histidine, immobilized metal affinity chromatography

Today I His-tagged my His-smas tree… HISTIDINE (His, H) may be an amino *acid* but it can also be a […]

Methionine, methyl transfers

Before he could be “SAM I am” he was METHIONINE. Have you Met yet? You can find him in green […]

Lysine, Schiff bases

Move over Kelloggs, this “K” is way more special than your cereal! Why? For one, the amino acid (protein letter) […]

Cysteine – disulfide bonds, reducing agents, perms

The Sistine Chapel wasn’t built in a day, but thanks to the amino acid cysteine (Cys, C) your hair can be […]

Proline – hydrogen bonding, bond angles, collagen

What’s a side chain that’s curvy gotta do with scurvy? Proline isn’t *pro*-lines & it’s definitely *anti* α-helix!  But it’s […]

Tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, spectroscopy, etc.

What’s Tweety bird’s fave amino acid?  tWiptophan! Tryptophan (Trp) is abbreviated W & you can remember this by saying it […]

Isoleucine, Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Who doesn’t love the smell of maple syrup? Doctors who smell it coming from diapers! Don’t know what i’m talking […]

Leucine, ketogenic amino acids

No losers here – just LEUCINE! Lighten up! But stay lucid!  today I’m elucidating the amino acid Leucine (Leu, L) […]

Valine, branched-chain amino acid breakdown

I know it’s not tis *that* season, but would you be my Valine-tine? Today in #20DaysOfAminoAcids, another protein letter to […]

Glycine and early protein chemistry research

Today I’m kicking off the 2020 bumbling biochemist’s version of an advent calendar – #20DaysOfAminoAcids – with the “opening up” […]

Light, chromophores, and changing leaf colors

Don’t Fall into the trap of thinking science is pretty boring – leave it to the bumbling biochemist to make […]

Donna Nelson and Indigenous Peoples in STEM

Dr. Donna Nelson is someone we should all be grateful for. And, in recognition of Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll join […]

The myth of turkey-triggered tiredness

If you’re tired after Thanksgiving, don’t blame the turkey! Time to pardon the turkey from the “turkey makes you tired” […]

Why RNA needs TLC

RNA, despite being really powerful, is really delicate and has to be treated with extreme TLC. And, yes, kept really […]

Alkaline lysis (mini preps)

Work in a lab & there are some “boring” experiments you have to do A LOT in order to do […]

mRNA vaccine biochemistry

mRNA vaccine biochemistry – What are they molecule-wise? How are they made? How do they work? and – in answer […]

Nucleophilicity & basicity

Think like a molecule! But what kind? This past week I’ve been learning lots of *nu* skills and phile-ing them […]

Nucleophilic substitution

It’s a drizzly day and whenever I take out my umbrella I think about SN1 and SN2 reactions! In these […]


What does hemoglobin fingerprinting have to do with crime scene fingerprint fingerprinting? Say “hy” to ninhydrin! From fingerprinting to fossil […]

pH: acids, bases, and the source of all those H’s

Who took a proton from the proton jar? The bumbling biochemist is on the case and her prime suspect is […]

Protein structure & Insulin – solving its structure and using it to treat diabetes

Solving the structure of insulin (figuring out the 3D arrangement of its atoms) was the crowning achievement for the pioneering […]

X-ray crystallography helps us pretty protein “see”

We’ve been “looking” a lot at proteins, the main workhorses of our cells, which do everything from provide structural support […]

Checking your cloning: colony PCR, analytical restriction digest, sequencing & more

A practical guide for checking your clones to make sure your inserted DNA got safely into its new home!. We […]

Adrenaline! (aka epinephrine) and other chemical callers (hormones & neurotransmitters)

Boo! AHHHHHHHdrenaline! Instead of trick or treat, let’s talk fight or flight and the chemistry behind the spook of a […]

Dry ice science – it’s sublime! and spooky…

Around Halloween you might see a bunch of spooky fog and bubbling (yet cold) cauldrons. And, if you’re like me, […]

Questions about concentrations? I’ve got solutions! molarity, molality, mole fraction partial pressure, and more molecular math….and candy!

How many invisible friends do I have in here? I don’t have imaginary friends, but I do have invisible ones […]

Stock up on stock solutions

Stock up on stock solutions so you can spend your time on the fun stuff! When it comes to “working […]

Hair frizz and the science of molecular attraction

What’s the biz with all this frizz? As a kid, my soccer teammates would call me “Einstein” – not because […]

Dimensional analysis – units, unit conversion, and mole! (I mean more!)

Happy Mole Day! What better way to celebrate the biochemist’s dozen than with a discussion of one of my favorite […]

Figures of significance: how many?

When it comes to digits, this scintillation counter provides an embarrassment of riches, so which numbers should I ditches? Turns […]

Open Access, journal articles, and preprints

It’s International Open Access Week, so I thought it’d be a good time to review types of scientific publications and […]

Biomolecular binding – affinity, avidity, and more

Are you avid about measuring binding affinity? Curious about the difference between affinity and avidity? If so, today’s post is […]

Cre-Lox recombination

Flummoxed about Flox sites? Hopefully I’ve Cre-ated a post that can help you understand CRE-LOX RECOMBINATION, which is a way […]

Phage display

The phage display gameplay: stick “random” foreign DNA in phage coat protein genes, let phage make those added-onto proteins and […]

Pretty pumpkins – carotenoids, chlorophyll, and many a more chromaphore

Why do pumpkins look orange? BETA-CAROTENE! Orange-yah glad you asked? Hopefully readers will delight if I discuss how these pumpkins […]

A bumbling biochemist call for jargon to de-jargon-ize!

Tell me – what’s some of the terminology you want to see in the bumbling biochemist dictionary? The bumbling biochemist […]

Soaps and detergents – the rub behind the sudsy scrub!

Happy World Handwashing Day! The perfect excuse to review what’s the rub behind that sudsy scrub! The science of soaps […]

Solid-state oligonucleotide synthesis: phosphoramidite method

Phosphoramidite is pretty cool – am I right or am I right? It helps us DNA or RNA write! Solid-state […]

Making peace with peptide bonds

My mom and I made PEACE with each other today – don’t worry, there wasn’t a rift between us, we […]

Nucleic acids

After 9 months, I finally got to see (and even hug!) my mom today! So I thought it’d be good […]

Η Θεοδώρα Χατζηιωάννου και η έρευνα της κατά του HIV/AIDS και του SARS-CoV2/COVID-19

H ιολόγος Θεοδώρα Χατζηιωάννου «έσπασε το φράγμα των ειδών» και έγινε η πρώτη επιστήμων που ανέπτυξε, το 2014, ένα μοντέλο […]

Noble gases (and other atoms’ jealousy of them)

With all this talk of Nobel Prizes (still excited!), I thought it would be good to talk about noble gases […]

Reducing agents & redox environment maintenance

Using DTT? How could you tell? I recognized that rotten-egg smell! And, while this might normally be a “yuck,” in […]

Antibody therapies: monoclonal antibodies, antibody cocktails, convalescent plasma and more!

Anybody want an anti-boring talk on antibody therapies? You might have heard of a certain figure being given an experimental […]

Remdesivir (apparently brand-named Veklury)

You’ve likely been hearing a lot about Remdesivir, so I thought I’d discuss it here and tell you about how […]

UV or not UV? – UVC & far UVC light

As cold weather comes and doing things outside becomes harder, more focus is being paid to how we can make […]

Hydrophobes are not afraid! The hydrophobic effect from the little guys’ perspective

Hydrophobes are not afraid! Water’s just a bully! The bumbling biochemist is coming to their rescue with a PSA about […]

Salty strangeness: salting in & out, ionic strength, and more

You put some salts in, some proteins precipitate out, you put some other salts in and things go the other […]

Learning to read the genetic code

Learning to read the genetic code? You might want to get your reading frames checked! But do your prescriptions overlap? […]

Translation weddings

Don’t get lost in translation! I hope my wedding analogy will help you learn and remember it without leaving you […]

Hildegard Froman & Wikipedia editing

I need your help – in researching for a post, I came across the name “Hildegard Lamfrom.” Turns out, she […]

T7 RNA Polymerase – discovery and uses (in vitro transcription & protein overexpression)

Making RNA is all the rage and if you want to make a lot a lot of copies of a […]

Transfection methods

We can do cool things if we can get nucleic acids (RNA or DNA) into cells. Everything from getting those […]

RNAi and microRNA

Just your periodic reminder of this thing called RNAi (RNA interference). I think it’s really cool and want to convince […]

Radioactivity help us nucleic acid see!

Radiolabeling nucleic acids (RNA & DNA) might seem “old school” but it remains an incredibly useful tool! So if someone […]

Protease types, inhibitors, & use-don’t uses

With general proteases, there’s a time and a place! Normally, I try to keep these “protein scissors” FAAAAAR away from […]

Fluorescence and FRET

Let there not be light! If you don’t see fluorescence you might be FRET-ing (and lots of information getting!) Fluorophores […]

How do you read DNA? DNA sequencing methods

Learning to read DNA! You’re probably familiar with the DNA double helix (thanks Rosalind Franklin!) That helix is 2 complementary […]

PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction

Give me a P! P! Give me a C! C! Give me an R! R! What do yo get? Lots […]

SDS-PAGE history

I reached a milestone, or I guess you could say a mile-PAGE today – my 700th SDS-PAGE since I started […]

Using insect cells to make protein – Baculovirus Expression Vector System (BEVS)

Trying to express a protein in bacteria and it isn’t going well? Maybe you should try expression in an insect […]

The science of flu shots

#GetYourFluShot! We don’t have a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine yet, but we do have an influenza vaccine, which can play a crucial […]

Theodora Hatziioannou and her work on HIV/AIDS and SARS-COV2/COVID-19

Virologist Theodora Hatziioannou “broke the species barrier” and became the first person to develop a non-human or chimp AIDS model […]

It’s the Great Squash, Charlie Brown! The science of “giant pumpkins”

It’s the great squash Charlie Brown! Doesn’t have quite the same ring, but it’s the more accurate description of this […]

Flash freeze dance – cryoprotectants, vitrification, crystallization, etc.

With any protein purification, it ain’t over till it’s aliquoted and in the -80! I love protein purifying, but, even […]

Measuring protein concentration with UV absorbance and Bradford assay

Yesterday I told you about how I spend a lot of time concentrating on concentrating the proteins I purify. And […]

Protein concentrating… and waiting…

Some days, I find it really hard to concentrate… my protein that is! One of the perks of starting early […]

Convalescent Plasma therapy

A conversation about Convalescent Plasma (CP) – I’m going to give a general overview and then go more into detail […]

Antibody therapy – monoclonal antibodies, antibody cocktails, and viral escape

Antibody cocktail anybody? You’ve probably gotten used to hearing about antibodies in the context of tests to see if people […]

CRISPR-based diagnostics

CRISPR/Cas diagnostics – where collateral damage is a good thing! CRISPR/Cas is a bacterial immune system mechanism in which CRISPR […]

His-tag protein purification with IMAC (Immobilized Metal Affinity Chromatography)

If you stick a bunch of histidines in a row (about 6 or 8 or so) and over a nickel […]