Small Wins, Personal Commitment and Concrete Solutions Add Up to Big Victories in Sustainability

Sustainability. Maybe it is your way of life, or you feel like it is a buzzword used and abused. Perhaps you are tired of hearing about it or convinced that society doesn’t do enough. Well, welcome to Switzerland, the country of Heidi, of mountains and chocolate, and where many are passionate about their environment and fight to preserve it. The team of Promega Switzerland is no exception. Take the General Manager, Mauro Ciglic, for example. He is someone who cares about people, nature, and the environment in the broadest sense. For him, sustainability is an attitude. It’s about questioning one’s lifestyle, behaviors, and habits, reflecting on what one can do personally, and continuously challenging oneself to be and do better for others and the environment. Mauro is aware that economic, social, and environmental aspects are intertwined and that changes in the environment, good or bad, directly impact people, thus society at large. As the person responsible for the Swiss Branch of Promega, Mauro can bring positive change using the company’s financial strength and workforce. He focuses on the opportunities and not the challenges and, with the team, works hard to bring concrete solutions.

“One of the hardest things for people to wrap their heads around tends to be the idea that small wins add up to big victories. However, if we want to make a big difference for the future of our planet and its people, we have to overcome our indifference towards so many small things in life.”

– Mauro Ciglic, General Manager, Promega Switzerland
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Take a Break, Take A Walk!

Elderly father adult son and grandson out for a walk in the park.

For many of us, we’re used to getting our steps in when walking from one meeting room to the next. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to new communication modes. Meetings transitioned to simply clicking from one zoom to the other, increasing the amount of time we stay sedentary. For those who are still working remotely, this is a reminder to make time for movement! Contrary to how long periods of sitting have negative effects on the body, walking has a long list of benefits. In the spirit of National Walking Day, here are some reasons why you should take a break and take a walk.

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Empowered Women Empower Women: Closing the Confidence Gap in STEM

Welcome back to the third and final part of our Women in Science series, where we’ve been exploring the key factors that perpetuate the gender gap in STEM. In Part 1 of this series, Breaking the Bias: Addressing the STEM Gender Gap, we dug into the key factors of gender stereotypes and male-dominated culture. Part 2, This is What a Scientist Looks Like: The Importance of Female Role Models in STEM, was all about the issue of fewer visible female role models in STEM. Last but certainly not least, this installment will focus on tackling the issue of the confidence gap, including the factors that play into it and the myriad ways we see it unfolds.

Part of my exploration of this topic included having conversations with a handful of my incredible female colleagues at Promega about the challenges women in STEM face. These colleagues were (in no particular order): Becky Godat, Instrumentation Scientist; Jacqui Mendez-Johnson, Quality Assurance Scientist; Johanna Lee, Content Lead, Marketing Services; Jen Romanin, Sr. Director, IVD Operations and Global Support Services; Kris Pearson, Director, Manufacturing & Custom Operations; Leta Steffen, Supervisor, Scientific Applications; Monica Yue, Technical Services Scientist; and Poonam Jassal, Manager, Regional Sales.

What is the Confidence Gap?

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GloMax® Instrument and NanoBiT® Technology Pave the Way for New Research Lab

Dr. Alsulami and the GloMax® Navigator  in his new research lab.

When setting up a new research lab, many researchers opt to outfit their new space with the technology and materials that got them through their academic studies. After graduating with his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Tawfiq Alsulami will be traveling with a GloMax® Navigator Microplate Luminometer across the globe to continue his work as Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at King Saud University. Dr. Alsulami and his new lab at KSU will be using the NanoBiT® system to develop novel assays for the future of food testing.

Dr. Tawfiq Alsulami answered a few of our questions regarding his upcoming research at KSU and offered a few pieces of advice to new labs. Read the Q&A below:

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iGEM Team Explores Regenerative Spinal Cord Treatment with Promega Support

Today’s blog is written by KCL iGEM Team Leaders Alya Masoud Abdelhafid and Luke Bateman. Both in their third and final year at King’s College London, Alya is completing a BSc in Nutrition and Luke a BSc in Biochemistry.  

Every year, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) offers high-school, undergraduate and post-graduate students the opportunity to conduct independent research using synthetic biology and genetic engineering to develop solutions to local and global problems.

More than 350 teams from around the world participate in iGEM, which culminates in a presentation at the global iGEM Giant Jamboree, attended by more than 6000 people every year. Here, novel research is presented amongst pioneers in synthetic biology, and outstanding projects are awarded prizes for their contribution to the greater scientific community. iGEM teams consistently produce ground-breaking solutions to modern challenges, many of which facilitate the development of multimillion-dollar companies and start-ups.

We are the King’s College London (KCL) iGEM team and are honored to be involved in the innovative and prestigious iGEM community.

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Avian Influenza H5N1: What You Should Know About the Current US Outbreak

As a lifelong Midwesterner, I’m accustomed to the short-lived, false springs of January and February. I know to save gleeful cries of “spring is here!” until the trees bud and I can hear the buzzing trill of red-winged blackbirds and the calls of other birds returning from their winter homes. But this spring, the return of birdsong is not all good news.

In January 2022, the state of South Carolina reported a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a wild bird—the first detected case of this virus subtype in the United States since 2016. Since then, the outbreak has spread. Two weeks ago my home state of Wisconsin reported its first case in a commercial chicken flock of nearly 3 million birds, one of the largest US flocks affected so far.

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This is What a Scientist Looks Like: The Importance of Female Role Models in STEM

Welcome back to Part 2 of our March Women in Science series! In Part 1 of this series, Breaking the Bias: Addressing the STEM Gender Gap, we took a closer look at gender stereotypes and male-dominated culture and their roles as key factors in perpetuating the gender gap in STEM. In this installment, we will be continuing the conversation about the STEM gender gap and focusing on the key issue of fewer female role models in STEM.  

Part of my exploration of this topic included having conversations with a handful of my female colleagues at Promega about the about the challenges women in STEM face. These colleagues were (in no particular order): Monica Yue, Technical Services Scientist; Poonam Jassal, Manager, Regional Sales; Becky Godat, Instrumentation Scientist; Leta Steffen, Supervisor, Scientific Applications; Kris Pearson, Director, Manufacturing & Custom Operations; Jacqui Mendez-Johnson, Quality Assurance Scientist; Johanna Lee, Content Lead, Marketing Services; and Jen Romanin, Sr. Director, IVD Operations and Global Support Services.

Eight Promega scientists discuss the importance of female role models in STEM

What Does A Scientist Look Like?

If someone asked you to draw a scientist, what would that person look like? Over the past 5 decades, this question has been asked of over 20,000 students across all grades from kindergarten through 12th, and evaluated in nearly 80 studies. A meta-analysis of these decades of studies revealed some interesting findings.

Between 1966 and 1977, of the 5,000 drawings collected from students during the original 11-year study, only 28 of those 5,000 drawings (less than 1% of the drawings) depicted a female scientist, with all 28 of them being drawn by girls.

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Study Reveals New Strategies for Targeting “Undruggable” KRAS Mutants

NanoBRET assays can be used to understand the behavior of drugs targeting KRAS mutants

A new study published in Nature Chemical Biology shows that the most commonly mutated protein in cancer might not be as “undruggable” as previously believed. Promega R&D scientists collaborated with the research group led by Kevan Shokat at the University of California – San Francisco to develop strategies for targeting mutants of KRAS that have evaded previous drug discovery efforts. Their paper opens new possibilities for developing small molecule inhibitors against KRAS(G12D) and other clinically significant mutants.

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PROTACs: Just the FAQs

protac drug discovery

While PROTACs might not be the topic of conversation at high society cocktail parties, or merit cover stories in glamor magazines, they’re certainly shaking up the drug discovery industry. PROTAC® degraders, together with related compounds like molecular glues and LYTACs, are the basic tools for a targeted protein degradation strategy. Research in this field is advancing rapidly, enabling the development of therapies for disease targets disease targets previously thought to be “undruggable”. This blog post provides an overview of PROTACs based on frequently asked questions.

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Using Tumor-Produced Neoantigens to Treat Lynch Syndrome

Lynch syndrome, named for American physician Dr. Henry T. Lynch, is a hereditary condition that causes a predisposition to several types of cancer, most commonly colorectal but to other types as well, including ovarian, endometrial and stomach cancer. The root of this disorder lies in a genetic defect known as DNA mismatch repair deficiency (or dMMR), which affects the process by which mistakes are repaired when our DNA is copied during cell division. People with Lynch syndrome can have up to an 80% increased lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer, and are more susceptible to developing colorectal and other types of cancers at an earlier age. Accounting for 3-5% of all colon cancers, Lynch syndrome is an excellent target for preventative treatment, like a vaccine. Research exploring a Lynch syndrome vaccine seeks to harness the body’s innate immune response to target tumor cells and has yielded promising results.

Person receiving a vaccine. Lynch syndrome, a hereditary condition that causes a predisposition to several types of cancer is an excellent target for preventative treatment. Read more about how researchers have recently explored vaccines for Lynch syndrome
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