Future Labs

Volume 10 Issue 6 | July 2015

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Cover Story

Future Labs

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Labs have come a long way since Thomas Alva Edison’s improvisations with fireplace chimneys to exhaust noxious fumes at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, research facilities in the late nineteenth century.

Featured Articles

Sections

Editor's Buzz

What's in Your Future?

Traditional laboratories—small, separate rooms with not much light and few amenities—began their  transformation more than a decade ago. The consensus was that researchers working in isolation or within a single, narrow discipline fostered neither creativity nor innovation.

Leadership and Staffing

Why Rapid Onboarding Isn't Always Right

In a world obsessed with speed, it’s no surprise that HR professionals feel the pressure to help new hires quickly become fully productive employees of an organization.

Business Management

Changing Lab Operations

From the ancient prophets of the Bible to Nostradamus in the Middle Ages to modern day “psychics,” people have always had a natural curiosity about the future, and just about everyone has speculated as to what it will be like. However, even modest predictions that seemed perfectly reasonable at the time have a way of missing the mark—the one thing that we know for certain about the future is that it will bring change in unexpected ways.

Laboratory Technology

Social Science

The traditional image of a solitary researcher working in an isolated laboratory in pursuit of a scientific discovery is outdated. Today’s scientists are more social than ever, driven by the imperative to collaborate in order to innovate.

Lab Health and Safety

Under Pressure

Although we love ZZ Top, this article will not delve into the iconic rock band; rather, it will discuss the safe handling of cryogenic materials.

Ask the Expert

Troubleshooting Chromatography Systems

Josephine Ferreon is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Her structural biology group characterizes various intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), important in stem cell biology and neurodegenerative diseases, using standard and state-of-the-art biochemical/biophysical techniques such as NMR and single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy.

Product Focus

ICP-MS for Homeland Security

The United States government—nearly 14 years after September 11, 2001— continues to invest heavily in homeland security. In fact, the president’s 2015 budget calls for US$38.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, and that equals more than 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Surveys

2015 Thermal Analyzers Product Survey Results

Thermal analysis is the broad category of at least 20 techniques that measure some fundamental property of matter as a result of adding heat. For example, dilatometry measures volume changes upon heating, thermomechanical analysis quantifies the change in dimension of a sample as a function of temperature, and thermo-optical analysis detects changes in optical properties upon heating or cooling.

Ask the Expert

Trends in Chromatography Use

Serge Cremers, Pharm. D., PhD, is an associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center and an attending clinical chemist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is the director of the Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory at Columbia University Medical Center and the director of the Biomarkers Core Laboratory of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, which is home to Columbia University’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and the largest mass spectrometry facility at Columbia University, focusing on targeted metabolomics and the measurement of drugs. Dr Cremers’ areas of expertise are bio-analytical chemistry, translational and clinical pharmacology, therapeutic drug monitoring, as well as clinical chemistry of metabolic bone diseases. He conducts research in all of these areas and has published over 90 papers. 

INSIGHTS

INSIGHTS on Drug Discovery

Most drug discovery efforts begin with a biological target—the molecule inside the body whose activity the drug is expected to enhance or diminish. Assurance that the target is pharmacologically accessible and responsible in some way for the disease in question is based on target validation studies.

Product Focus

Surveys

2015 Electrophoresis Product Survey Results

Electrophoresis relies on a basic process — particles moving in an electric field. Known for more than 200 years, this phenomenon still drives fundamental techniques in many labs and its long history plays a role in the widespread use of the technology. Current interest lies in making the technology faster, more accurate and more sensitive.

Product Focus

Centrifuges: Components of All Blood Bank Operations

Centrifuges used in blood banks and clinical settings are identical in function to those found in chemistry or biology labs, but methods and objectives may differ significantly depending on the end use.

Turning Your Lab into a Transformer

If everything in a lab gets attached to walls or the floor, evolving lab requirements and processes require ramshackle solutions. But what if things could move around? That’s what flexible casework allows.

Surveys

2015 Microwave Digester Survey Results

Microwave-acid digestion is a common sample preparation step for atomic absorption, atomic emission, or inductively coupled plasma analysis of metals. Microwave digestion takes minutes,compared with hours for conventional hot plate digestion. 

2015 Lab Balance Survey Results

Choosing the correct balance for your application, or a series of balances that suit all of your application needs, is the first step in good lab weighing practices. If you choose the correct balance, calibrate it regularly, including any time the balance is moved to a new location, and keep it clean, your balance will reward you with many years of accurate operation.

How it Works

How a Platform for Addressing the Challenges of "Dead" Data Works

Problem: According to the Allotrope Foundation, “Underpinning every experiment, every scientific decision, and every regulatory submission is data generated by a scientist using an instrument in the laboratory.” These mountains of analytical data are analyzed and interpreted in global R&D laboratories to help evaluate, identify, and characterize compounds and formulations. 

How a Smart Multimode Microplate Reader Works

Problem: Microplate readers are a common lab commodity; they’re used across research and drug discovery to detect the occurrence of biological events. However, the potential for experimental errors is a frustrating reality. An incorrect dispensing position, for example, will provide unreliable results—requiring researchers to re-run the assay or, if undetected, lead to faulty data. The same is true if the dispenser isn’t properly primed.

Laboratory Technology

July 2015 Technology News

This month, we highlight companies exhibiting at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo (AACC 2015) and the 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition (ACS 2015). AACC 2015, a leading event for laboratory medicine worldwide, runs from July 26-30 at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. ACS 2015 takes place next month, running from August 16-20 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Small Molecules, Big Sensitivity

At the end of April, Agilent Technologies launched its 6545 Q-TOF mass spectrometry system, designed to provide added sensitivity for routine analyses.

Products in Action

Better Pipetting: Better Data, Better Science.

The Andrew product family is unique in the liquid handling arena: It consists of portable, ready to use companion robots using conventional pipettes that can be used anywhere with little to no training. 

TGX Stain-Free™ Gels

Stain-free gel chemistry uses a unique compound, which, when activated, reacts with tryptophan residues in the protein sample to emit a fluorescence signal. This allows the quick visualization of proteins without any staining steps. In addition, stain-free gel chemistry makes it possible to use total protein levels as a loading control rather than the housekeeping proteins used in traditional western blotting protocols. This negates the need to strip and reprobe blots and prevents any attendant errors that can be introduced at this step.

Using Microwave Sample Prep to Determine Trace Metals Analysis in Environmental Matrices

Demand for trace metals analysis in the environmental laboratory is growing strongly due to stricter  environmental regulations. ICP has previously been the standard for metals analysis, but as demand for lower detection levels grows, labs are experiencing a significant transition to ICP-MS. This transition is placing increased emphasis on the sample preparation method.

Protector® Echo™ Filtered Fume Hood

Labconco Corporation has combined its patented fully-featured Protector Hood design with Erlab’s GreenFumeHood (GFH) Technology to deliver a multi-use fume hood that requires no ducting. The Protector Echo delivers safety, energy savings, and adaptability to ever-changing laboratory spaces.

Rethink Cell Growth

In today’s era of cell culture experimentation and production, scientists rely on a tightly controlled, decontaminated environment within their CO2 incubators to precisely simulate the in vivo conditions from which mammalian cells originate. While designing the Panasonic cellIQ™ CO2 incubator, we  implemented cutting edge technology to address key concerns and provide effective solutions for  problems during daily culturing operations. The cellIQ™ was designed with your experiments in mind, so that precision of our incubator ensures precision in your data.

RURO's FreezerPro®

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a method of determining the identity of an item using radio  frequency communication. RURO’s FreezerPro® RFID edition software creates a unique ID number for each laboratory vial (or box, or freezer) and associates the number with sample information and location.