How Do You Solve a Problem Like Malaria?

malaria_researcher
Photo courtesy of NIH/NIAID

Malaria affects nearly half of the world’s population, with almost 80% of cases in sub-Saharan Africa and India. While there have been many strides in education and prevention campaigns over the last 30 years, there were over 200 million cases documented in 2017 with over 400,000 deaths, and the majority were young children. Despite being preventable and treatable, malaria continues to thrive in areas that are high risk for transmission. Recently, clinicians started rolling out use of the first approved vaccine, though clinical trials showed it is only about 30% effective. Meanwhile, researchers must continue to focus on innovative efforts to improve diagnostics, treatment and prevention to reduce the burden in these areas.

Continue reading “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Malaria?”

Weird samples? Contact Tech Serv to find the right DNA purification kit for you.

“Dear Tech Serv,
We would like to detect DNA collected from swabs rubbed on the inside thighs of frogs. What would be the best DNA extraction kit to use for this?”

“Hi Tech Serv,
I need to find out a suitable kit for extracting DNA from bird fecal samples. Can I use ReliaPrep™ gDNA Tissue Miniprep System for that?”

These are just some examples of unconventional sample type inquiries that the Promega Technical Services Team receives regularly from scientists around the world. Many of these inquiries land in the hands of Technical Services Scientist, Paraj Mandrekar (a.k.a. “sample type guru”). Continue reading “Weird samples? Contact Tech Serv to find the right DNA purification kit for you.”

Who Stole the Cookies? Technical Services Scientists Offer DNA Labs to Area Schools

teaching-lab-2Guest Post from Promega Technical Services Scientist, Caroline Davis.

On a snowy day in January, someone stole the cookies that were to be served with lunch from the Rome Corners Intermediate School cafeteria.   The kids were distraught. What should they do?  Luckily, the Green 2 Team science class was there with Promega’s Technical Service Outreach team (and Paraj Mandrekar, Senior Research Scientist and Green 2 Team Dad) to help.

The students realized that the thief had taken a bite out of a strawberry and left part of it behind, along with his DNA.  After a short discussion on what DNA is and why you would want to isolate DNA, the 6th graders extracted DNA from strawberries using household reagents under the guidance of the Promega scientists.  The students used pipettors, beakers, microfuge tubes and flipper racks, giving the students a glimpse of the tools that scientists use everyday in in a molecular biology lab. Continue reading “Who Stole the Cookies? Technical Services Scientists Offer DNA Labs to Area Schools”