Our two highlighted tradeshows this month include the Materials Research Society Fall Meeting and Exhibit (MRS) and the American Society for Cell Biology’s annual meeting (2014 ASCB/IFCB). The 2014 MRS Fall Meeting takes place November 30-December 5, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts, featuring over 6,000 presentations. Not long after, the 2014 ASCB/IFCB Meeting–a premier biomedical research conference–runs December 6-10 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its Keynote Talks will span the origin of life to the cosmos. Remember that the companies highlighted here in Tech News will be exhibiting, but these specific products may not be at the shows.
Keeping your laboratory balances up to snuff is pretty simple, but there are a few things to remember to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Problem: Scientists must typically rely on high-end cell sorters in core facilities to run their samples. These cell sorters—equipped with five or more lasers and double digit detection channels—were originally utilized to answer pressing questions arising in the immunology field. However, they are overly complex for the new breed of user who sorts cells today: cell biologists and biochemists who employ fluorescent proteins and require at most four colors and one-to-two population sorting. The challenge is that as demand increases, the number of staff available to operate these complex instruments remains the same. As a result, wait times at core facilities have ballooned, literally putting research on hold until capacity is available. For the more than half of today’s cell sorting users who require four colors orfewer sorts, the elaborate equipment is becoming a bottleneck.
Problem: Achieving successful PCR (polymerase chain reaction) results requires proper control of many factors and parameters. The yield—quantity and quality—of amplified DNA is often essential for downstream applications and ultimately successful completion of experimental research. PCR reagents, consumable sample vessels, and the thermal cycler instrument must all be properly chosen for the specific PCR application, and must also meet quality and performance requirements. In addition to these components that must work correctly in conjunction, sample preparation is typically done manually and must be done with care and accuracy.
Problem: An emergency spill response plan is part of every laboratory safety protocol. However, despite all the best precautions, accidents can happen! Laboratories often house chemicals such as acids, bases, solvents and flammables—all of which can be toxic to human health and the environment if used incorrectly or spilled.
Multichannel pipettes are invaluable when working with multiwell plates. However, prolonged and repetitive pipetting sessions bear the risk of strain and fatigue, often resulting in repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and less reproducible results.