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

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 […]

Antibodies: types & uses

Turns out making antibodies, even paper models of them, is complicated! Yesterday I taught a (virtual) summer camp lesson on […]

Rapid coronavirus testing – a call for a focus on contagiousness

“Contagiousness testing” – the TLDR version. If your goal is to find the people who are infectious before they infect […]

Spit taking & “Contagiousness testing” for coronavirus – rapid testing from a public health perspective

A story about spit, the NBA, the FDA and Proteinase K! And bull manure… Did you just do a spit […]


Sonicating in style! (actually ULTRA-SONICATING in ultra-style). Too energetic to hear, but just right to DNA-SHEAR! Just like there’s ultra-violet […]

The bumbling biochemist’s back to school guide!

Back to school and school’s still cool (even if it is virtual)! Whether your classes are online, in person, or […]

Antibiotic based selection

Wedding dress selection during antibiotic selection! You might be a nerd if, during your sister’s Zoom wedding dress shopping, you […]

Bacterial growth media

TB or not TB – I recently had that question asked to me – well, actually they asked “TB or […]

Tsuneko Okazaki and the discovery of Okazaki fragments (also, what those are!)

If you’ve taken a molecular biology class, the name “Okazaki” might sound familiar to you. Tsuneko Okazaki, together with her […]

Maud Menten and Enzyme Kinetics

Km on – let’s applaud Maud! You can’t get through a biochemistry class without hearing her work Menten-ed but the […]

Daria Hazuda and the development of HIV integrase inhibitors

Hurrah for Daria Hazuda! In pioneering work done in the 1990s & 2000s she opened up a whole new class […]

Logarithms and exponents

Lately, I’ve been trying to get through the fog of the log as I analyze my data, using logarithmic scales […]

Accuracy vs. precision, and how experimental error is out to get them

You didn’t think I was done collecting experimental data did you? This morning I was back at it, collecting lots […]

Female scientists in HIV/AIDS research

A lot of progress towards combatting HIV/AIDS has been made possible by female scientists, but they’ve often been overshadowed. Yesterday […]

Flossie Wong-Staal and her pioneering HIV/AIDS research

Flossie Wong-Staal, Ph.D. (1946- 2020). Have you heard that name? Unfortunately, you likely haven’t – even though Wong-Staal was hugely […]


Humidity is not humorous… But what really *is* humidity? Let’s discuss! Do I get a point for discussing DEW POINT? […]

RNase A & DEPC

RNase. RNase. RNase. This is the name for “RNA cutters” and I’m writing it over and over because, even though […]

Heme catabolism, the bilirubin test, & times it’s medically relevant (jaundice, hyperbilirubinemia, hemolytic anemia, etc.)

Your body has a lot of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) (aka erythrocytes) (~5 billion per mL). And they’re produced at […]

Lead poisoning; heme synthesis, porphyria & more

Globin and heme make a pretty great team. But making that heme is harder than it may seem! Especially if there […]

Lead poisoning

If you want an example of structural racism, lead poisoning is basically as literal an interpretation of it as you […]

ABO blood types

Why is it important to know, what’s your blood type, A, B, AB, or O? Even if you find out, […]

Pentose phosphate pathway

There’s been a lot of attention paid to PPE, but not enough to PPP (Pentose Phosphate Pathway)! You know how […]

G6PD deficiency

A deficiency in screening for G6PD deficiency – just one more example of systemic racial injustice in our medical system? […]

Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy, & J. Marion Sims

James Marion Sims – this “father of gynecology” doesn’t deserve any father’s day cards, let alone statues and memorials. How […]

Glycobiology: sugar science

Let’s have a talk *with* sugars! Because, as glycobiologists show us, these molecules have a lot to say – about […]

When DNA attacks! Neutrophil Extracellular Traps and COVID-19

Can I tell you a quick cool story I learned today in a talk by Mikala Egeblad? If yes, continue […]

Rosalind Franklin

I thought it would be fitting to celebrate Watson’s name finally getting removed from our school name by amplifying the […]

Racial segregation of blood in the United States & the true patriots who put an end to it

We “feel that because we are Americans . . . we should try to overlook the conduct of your organization, […]

Fireworks & thermodynamics

Fireworks or fire-won’t-works? Chemistry dictates if sparks you will see! And metals determine what color they will be! Redox reactions […]


Proteases! The coronavirus has made proteases “popular” in the media, but these “protein scissors” have been popular in biochemistry labs […]

LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM

Love is love. Whether woman & man; woman & woman; man & man; or none of the above! Whether you’re […]

Pool testing for the coronavirus

Pools are opening around the world – and I’m not talking about the kind you swim in! Instead, I’m talking […]

The importance of (and current lack of) diversity in medical research & how Dr. Namandje Bumpus is getting people to take notice

For a multitude of reasons, Black people, as well as other minorities, are underrepresented in medical research – everything from […]


In science, some things are a marathon, but others are a sprint, and sharing urgent findings is sped up by […]

Get to the (boiling) point! Vaporization & boiling point manipulation

To prepare sufficiently soggy spaghetti atop the summit of Mt. Everest, you might want to bring salt in addition to a stove. […]

Autoclaves & steam sterilization

30L of insect cells hopefully chock full of my protein to harvest meant that this morning I spent a lot […]

Charles Drew – the “father of the blood bank” – for him we have a lot to thank!

Happy Father’s Day! In addition to my own dad, today I’m honoring the “father of the blood bank,” Dr. Charles […]

HBCUs and their STEM successes

HBCUs: In today’s installment of “White woman sincerely trying to educate herself about Black history and become a better ally” […]

sySTEMic racism & how it’s holding Black scientists – and science as a whole – back

It’s (past) time to say no to sySTEMic racism. So, academia, we need to talk. The lab is one of […]

Patricia Bath

Patricia Bath (1942-2019) Representation matters. Case in point: Dr. Patricia Bath, the first Black female doctor to patent a medical […]

Coronavirus – an overview of the molecular biology and potential treatment strategies

I’m “at” a virtual meeting on the novel Coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2, and the disease it causes COVID-19. A meeting like this […]

Namandje Bumpus

A couple of weeks ago I learned that one of my science heroes, Dr. Namandje Bumpus, was promoted to full […]

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. I’d always known the basic overview – hundreds of Black men with syphilis being withheld treatment […]

Alice Ball, chaulmoogra oil, & leprosy

Alice Ball (1892-1916) developed the first truly effective treatment for leprosy (Hansen’s disease), but you likely haven’t heard of her. […]

Life in the lab in the time of corona

1st post-shutdown week in the lab complete! It was AMAZINGLY AWESOME to be back – and in a lot of […]

HeLa cells – Henrietta Lacks & #ShutDownSTEM

Today, in recognition of #ShutDownSTEM, I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on the disturbing irony that science academia (as […]

Radiolabeling & radioactivity

A Room of One’s Own? A benefit of working in the hot room (where we do our work with radioactive […]

Antibody therapies for COVID-19

Many people have probably lately been thinking “I want my momma!” – and scientists have also been thinking “I want […]

Nonsense-Mediated Decay

Me – strange? Nonsense! NONSENSE MEDIATED DECAY provides a way to get rid of early stop-signed mRNA! And I hope […]

My last Bri*fing from the Bedroom

Today is my last Bri*fing from the bedroom. Next week it’s back to Bri*fings from the BENCH! After 2+ months […]

Ribosome associated Quality Control

If your ribosome stalls, who you gonna call? RIBOSOME-ASSOCIATED QUALITY CONTROL (RQC)! When it comes to making functional proteins, amino […]

Degrons: Auxin Inducible Degrons, N-degrons, etc.

When you don’t want a protein you’ve already made, call in Auxin Inducible Degrons to come to your AID! Features […]

Ubiquitin-Proteasome System

Ubiquitin tags proteins for the bin! UBIQUITIN (Ub) is a small protein that acts like a pre-addressed shipping label that […]

Polysome profiling

Science meetings & conferences can be like geek Disneyland – speaking of which, let’s talk about POLYSOME PROFILING (a way […]

Ribosome footprinting/profiling

Proud parents might show you pictures of baby footprints – proud translation researchers might show you pictures of RIBOSOME FOOTPRINTS. […]

RNA TLC – RNA’s sensitive, so treat it with Tender Loving Care!

This week I’m “at” the RNA Society’s Annual Meeting where I “gave” my first ever official oral presentation. Conferences like […]