Author Archives: Wang

Tasty tomatoes and biological tradeoffs

As part of my recent fascination with plant biology, I read a paper called “A chemical genetic roadmap to improved tomato flavor“, by Tieman et al. This led me down a rabbit hole of a surprisingly large literature on the … Continue reading

Posted in Literature review, Plant biology | Leave a comment

Plant breeders were engineering biology before it was cool

Recently I’ve become fascinated1 by crop breeding and plant genetics, after realizing that these are, in a sense, the oldest fields of biological engineering. Even though we’ve only been able to manipulate genetic circuits and metabolic pathways for a few decades, we’ve been … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Plant biology | Leave a comment

The role of storytelling in scientific writing

I wrote this privately 2 years ago, reflecting on my first publication. Later I saw that others had already been having a similar discussion (see this piece by Yarden Katz), so I thought this would be good to share here. … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Life and science | Leave a comment

Tutorial: bulk segregant analysis in yeast

This is a tutorial on how to do Bulk Segregant Analysis (BSA) in yeast, a particular way of doing Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) mapping. The general aim is to identify the mutations underlying a trait difference between individuals–in this case, different yeast strains. … Continue reading

Posted in Data analysis, Microbial physiology | 4 Comments

A “diauxic shift” to a new beginning

Throughout grad school I’ve had many ideas I wanted to write about, or tools I’d developed that I wanted to explain and share, but these never seemed quite “serious” enough to spend time on. So, for the most part, I … Continue reading

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Calculating growth rate from microbial growth curves using MATLAB

Growth curve experiments are used to study the physiology of bacteria, yeast, or other micro-organisms. You inoculate cells in a nutrient medium, let them grow, and record the optical density of the culture over time with a spectrophotometer. Automated plate … Continue reading

Posted in Data analysis, Microbial physiology, Quantitative principles | 1 Comment

The difference between selection coefficient and relative growth rate

If you do experiments on microorganisms, you are probably familiar with fitness assays, where you study a mutant strain by comparing its growth rate to that of the wildtype in various environments. If, like me, you have learned the method … Continue reading

Posted in Microbial physiology, Quantitative principles | Leave a comment