This cover that I made for Jared Anderson's group at Iowa State University just came out. It highlights a feature article they wrote about sample preparation for bioanalytical and pharmaceutical analysis. I learned that we've come a long way from phenol-chloroform extractions as the main way we get DNA from cells. For anyone who knows anything about this, I am dating myself, but the first experiment I ever did in a non-classroom laboratory started with doing mini-preps using phenol-chloroform extraction. By the time I got to grad school we used these adorable little centrifuge tubes equipped with filters to do mini-preps, and you could finish one before your coffee got cold on your desk. Now they're using microfluidics to separate DNA from proteins and other flotsam and jetsam. I know very little about microfluidics, but I am always reminded of a seminar I saw over a decade ago at MIT from an up and coming Rustem Ismagilov, a professor at CalTech. It was common for researchers to photograph their microfluidic devices next to a penny to demonstrate the impossibly small size they were able to achieve. Professor Ismagilov told us how, as he embarked on this field of research, the first thing he did was to go out and get a really really big penny. Maybe the funniest thing I've ever heard in a seminar.
Below are the sketches I presented to the Anderson Lab for consideration. They discuss many techniques in the paper (magnetic ionic liquids, solid phase extraction, etc.) so it was a challenge to try to work in as many as I could. They chose the second sketch. I don't know the reason, but maybe having the bacteria and pills looking like so many college freshman was a bit much.