Lab Tricks

Work in the lab can be very frustrat ing, especially when things go wrong. Sometimes you prepare a PCR, electrophoresis or run a certain reaction according to the manual or manufacturers’ instructions but it doesn’t work out as it should. Repeating the experiment doesn’t help either. Before trying again and again and going insane, it’s a good idea to seek advice from an expert. But beware! Ask two or more experts and oddly enough you are bound to get two or more different answers! This makes life somewhat more complicated, especially for beginners and sometimes it feels as if you are constantly bothering other people in the lab with your problems.

Time to check in with the Lab Times series “Tips and Tricks of the trade”. Our objective is to bring people who know some useful lab tricks together with those desperately searching for some advice. So if you know a trick that makes daily work in the lab easier, let us know. Maybe you’ve modified some devices in your lab to make them work better. Tell us how! Are you using homemade devices that one would not expect to find in a biological lab? Could even be a good story into the bargain. Perhaps you’ve modified buffers, solutions, reaction temperatures or whatever. Grab your keyboard and write it down. In principle we appreciate every tip and/or trick that deals with methods or practical things in the lab. There are only two restrictions: Firstly, your trick must be proven to really work. Secondly, it should be feasible in a standard lab. Unfortunately, space allocated for the “Tips and tricks of the trade” series is limited, so try to keep things as short and simple as possible. Below you will find two examples of what published lab hints could look like. If you know more tricks, feel free to contact us. We would also be pleased to receive a picture of you to accompany the printed article.


And here are the first tricks:

  • How to Remove Stop Codons from Gateway Entry Vectors
  • Money saving siRNA purification
  • How dense are membrane protein complexes?
  • Optimising Northern-Blots
  • A mortar holder made of plaster