Dont mess with the old-fashioned boss - (Aug/26/2008 )
I guess I was wondering what kind of boss you all have. Apparently my one is the kind that wants you to used a celsium gradient for maxipreps instead of a kit. If you use a kit and it doesnt work hell blame it on the kit. Because the TA decided she didnt want to spend one and a half days doing maxis we know use a kit in the lab. However we do not use a kit for minipreparations.
I come from a lab that did ChIP chip, using kits for minis was routine, and I felt annoyed at the thought of something taking two hours that could take half an hour.
Then I remembered there were other plusses to the lab and i moved on, decided to try to get some free samples, thought it couldnt do no harm.
Today I was kinda attacked by the TA because of this, she said to not even think about going to the boss and asking if we can get a mini kit, that he would hit the ceiling blablabla and I tried to explain that I wasnt going to I just thought id get one for free use that up and thats that.
Still it made me think, with a boss like that, does that mean that he is generally going to reject anything new? He doesnt care how long it takes as long as you dont use a kit? How does someone like that feel about 3-D cultures and live imaging?
Am i being too spoiled about this?
Some people have doubts because of kits. I know they are convinent, quick and easy to use, but I think everybody using them has experienced that sometimes the kit does not work anymore.....just because the company changed supplier. So maybe your boss is not old-fashioned, he just had bad experiences with kits?????? I confess: I do not like kits either; most of the time the kitless methods take the same time and are more reliable and adaptable if a problem occurs (and cheaper). So I would vote for not thinking that your boss is not open to something new! Just have a look around what people in your new lab are working on, and then decide if the work they do is not up to date....with or without kits!
I agree with gebirgsziege - kits can represent a black box and you have no real idea what is going on. If it works then great, but if not then you have no idea what to optimize. But since miniprep kits are so well used these days and I've never had any problems with them at all, it does seem a tad old fashioned. If you wanted to use a less-well used kit, or a new type of kit that has no peer reviewed data on it, then I would be more careful when deciding whether to use a kit or not.
most of the times we were using kits at my (ex) lab, when we ran out of them some labmates panicked because they had to use Trizol® instead of commercial kits. the yield we got using trizol was way higher than the one we got with the kits. later the kits arrived and the trizol was forgotten. so, either technique is good, but as miRNA says, you have no idea what's going on, e.g. add 100 µl of buffer 1 and centrifuge at 4C for 15 min. what does buffer 1 contain? or buffer 2 or so on?? harder to control and more expensive. anyway, i don't get it why your boss would be so upset if you mention the word "kit", it's maybe like me when i hear my ex boss's ex phd student's name
Some PIs feel that kits diminish your technical training/education - i.e. with a kit, they feel the students are just following the recipe and do not know the rationale for each step...why am I adding this solution now? what is this reagent doing? etc.
anyway you only follow the recipe when you're learning. let's just say that kits are like frozen food
Title is misleading. In general - Do not mess with any kind of boss.
bb, you've grown wiser and wiser with every post! cheers to you!
I never use any kit during my PhD...my scholarship only gives the lab ~$2000 per year for lab consumables.
My PI would never allow me to use kit because ~$2000 per year is not enough to do experiments full time.
Consider the purpose of the exercise (specifically the purpose the boss had in mind). He/she may well have wanted you to gain from this effort detailed understanding, including the seemingly trivial efforts that would be missed if you used the kit.