Author Archives: SusieJ

DNA extraction from Swabs?

Helloooooo, I apologise that I am hijacking the blog from beyond the grave Baltic sea, but I given that the Mol Ecol lab is world renowned for it’s brilliance, innovation, brilliance, etc. I figured someone could help me.

Does anyone have experience of extracting DNA from swabs (buccal swabs, mucus swabs, etc.) cheaply and effectively? If there is a protocol available, or a particular kit which can be recommended, I would be extremely grateful.

You can contact me by email at, or by leaving a comment here – if I get a good answer then I can post it on the blog.

Missing the lab very much – has anyone beat Andy at Pétanque yet?


Susie’s Viva – Tuesday 12th October!

Dearest lab-mates,

You may already know that next Tuesday is the day of my Viva, and I hope that you all can come to celebrate it with me!

I am hoping to head to the Interval for a well-deserved pint at around 5/6pm and to go out for a meal afterwards, probably for something like noodles or curry depending on the numbers.

So please let me know if you would like to come for dinner by emailing me at by Friday afternoon at the latest. Partners/friends/randomers are very welcome to come along too – the more the merrier!

Thanks 🙂 Susie x

World Cup Sweepstake – Last Call!

Hello, this will be the last blog post about this as I’ll move it to email for the participants.

There are just seven teams left. Anyone is welcome to take part. It’s an interesting position as the teams left are Argentina, Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire are still up for grabs!

From now on, it’s first come first served, and the remaining teams will be a secret. I’m in B1 207, come visit! Or email me at and I’ll pick a team for you (Juan will be the independent adjudicator).


FIFA World Cup: Mol Ecol Sweepstake

Hello again MolEcolers, Lets go for it! I will come round the offices and lab tomorrow – give me a shout if you definitely want to take part and I will come and find you ( ).

There are 32 teams taking part; tournament starts on the 11th June and the final is on the 11th of July.

Entry to the Sweepstake is £2 : £1 will go the the prize pot, the other £1 will go to the UNICEF Unite Againt Aids Campaign, which strives for real and lasting change to protect the rights of children affected by HIV. You can find more information here.


– 1st place: £8
– 2nd place: £5
– 3rd place: £3
– Team with most goals conceded: £5
– Team with FIFA Best Young Player: £2
– FIFA Most Entertaining Team: £2

– Own Goal Prize Pot: £7

Further explanation: If someone on your team scores a goal for the opposite team, then you can win a share of this prize. There has been at least one own goal in every tournament since USA ’94. Anyone who saw Scotland v Brazil in France ’98 can understand that this is a subject very close to my heart… And anyone who saw Japan v England at the weekend knows what the Golden ticket could be 😉


– Teams will be selected by each participant AT RANDOM.
– No complaining if you get DPR Korea or New Zealand!
– First come, first served…
– No money, no team.
– Maximum of two teams per person.
– In the case of several teams tying for a prize, the prize will be divided between the winners accordingly.
– If you draw France, any winnings should go towards buying beer for an Irish person.
– Penalty shoot outs do NOT count towards goals conceded.
– If no own goals are scored during the tournament, the own goal prize pot will be added to our charity donation.

Good luck everyone!!


FIFA World Cup Sweepstake?

Hello Fellow MolEcolers,

The 19th FIFA World Cup will be kicking off next month, with 32 teams taking part.

Being Scottish, I often need a little bit of an incentive for watching international football tournaments. That’s why I am thinking of organising a little sweepstake for the lab… After last time, I think it would be fun to mix up the prizes a bit to make it interesting, even if you draw a rubbish team (or if you draw England and then lose to Germany on penalties). So there will be several more prizes in addition to the usual 1st, 2nd, 3rd… including golden boot, most goals conceded, and an own goal prize pot!

Also, I thought it would be nice to donate half of the proceedings to charity this time, perhaps to a worthwhile cause in South Africa.

Please reply to this thread to let me know if you are interested, if I am treading on anyone’s toes, and if anyone has a particular charity they support in Southern Africa, please let me know! If its a popular idea, I’ll follow this up next week with something more formal.



Endnote X1 – lab copy?

Does anyone have a copy of Endnote X1 or know where the lab copy is?

I found X2 in the lab software folder but my computer has taken umbridge with it…



UCAS Open Day: Thursday 11th Feb 2-3pm


Tomorrow (Thursday) I will be doing a UCAS demonstration in the Mol Ecol Lab, lasting for about 1 hour. This will be at the central entrance to the lab and I will need access to the sequencer room at this time.

It will get really busy, so can I please please ask that you collect the plates/tips/septa/pipettes you need BEFORE 2pm tomorrow. The sequencer will be OUT OF BOUNDS during this time, so please load your plates before 2pm or after 3pm.

I get a bit nervous about this, so the usual rules apply or face my wrath… in particular, don’t barge through the group and don’t vortex loads of tubes on a machine 1 metre away from the talk like the BeadExpress man dared to do… or prepare to be scowled at. Severely.

Thanks for your understanding!


Hello everyone,we are advertising for fieldwork assistants on St Kilda for this Spring. If you know anyone who may be interested (friends? former students?), please let them know about this advert!








We are currently looking for volunteers for this year’s Soay sheep Spring expeditions to St. Kilda, a group of islands 180 km off the coast of north-west Scotland.  The expeditions run from mid February till the beginning of April and from late March till early May 2009.



– Mortality searches

– Systematic daily searches to record the birth of lambs

– Catching lambs for tagging and identification purposes



       Must be available for the full period of one of the time periods stated

       Must be fit, St Kilda has a very demanding terrain; ability to run essential

       A background in Biological Sciences


Travel to the island will be by helicopter from Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) and the team will stay in cottages built by the original inhabitants of St Kilda (since restored by the National Trust for Scotland).  Expenses incurred whilst travelling in Scotland will be reimbursed and food/accommodation on island are provided. This is an ideal opportunity to gain field experience in large mammal research and to visit St Kilda, the remotest of British islands.


If you wish to apply for this work please send: a CV with covering letter, contact phone number and details of two referees that can be contacted immediately by email.


CONTACT:  Jill Pilkington


Pub/Dancing this Saturday!

Hello MolEcolers,

I will be turning one year older this weekend, so what better way to celebrate then drinking and dancing?

We will go to the Washington from about 8pm (map) and will probably end upgoing the Casbah when we are sufficiently tipsy.

Everyone and anyone is welcome to come along, hope to see you there!

Susie 🙂

UCAS Open Day: Thursday 10th Dec 2-3pm (Tomorrow!)


Tomorrow (Thursday) I will be doing a UCAS demonstration in the Mol Ecol Lab, lasting for about 1 hour. This will be at the central entrance to the lab and I will need access to the sequencer room at this time.

It will get really busy (there are a lot of people coming tomorrow), so can I please please ask that you collect the plates/tips/septa/pipettes you need BEFORE 2pm tomorrow, and please try not to put plates on between 2 and 3pm. It’s a bit stressful giving the presentation and especially so when lab members are charging through large groups of students and parents… also people with benches around the sequencer, if you need somewhere quiet to work, you can use my lab bench (next to the PCR machines).

Thanks for your understanding!