Designing for Science

Volume 9 Issue 6 | July 2014

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Cover Story

Designing for Science

By Sara Goudarzi

When executive director Graham Shimmield and his colleagues set out to build a new home for Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in 2009, they wanted a structure sensitive to the surroundings of the new locale on the coast of Maine. With the help of their architects, contractors, and engineers, they got just that.

Featured Articles


Editor's Buzz


While it might be the season for beach trips and family vacations, for most of us those getaways onlyfill a few weeks at best. After that, it’s back to the workplace or, in your case, the lab.

Business Management

Funding Research Facilities

Elite and well-endowed universities with highly regarded medical schools use many tools to attract the best and brightest faculty and students. Among those tools are state-of-the-art laboratories. However, any strong university—even one without an endowment—can still build state-of-the-art facilities by earning grant awards that include funding for labs and other science facilities.

Leadership and Staffing

Stop Fixing People

Have you ever complained about having to parent another adult? Maybe you are trying too hard to fix them.

Business Management

Electronic Mail and Media for 2020 and Beyond

As we’ve talked about many times in this column, technology has transformed the life sciences in more radical ways than in most industries. Many of us went from bench work to office work. Along the way, our work became more streamlined and sometimes more complex, no doubt because of all kinds ofelectronic communication happening via computers, smartphones, and other personal devices.

Ask the Expert

Trends in Mass Spectrometry

Amrita Cheema, PhD, associate professor and codirector of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource at Georgetown University Medical Center, talks to contributing editor Tanuja Koppal, PhD, about the growing use of mass spectrometry as a tool for detecting biomarkers for early prediction and diagnosis of disease, leading to personalized therapy. She highlights that improvements in softwareand hardware have led to better resolution and specificity, which in turn have increased the use of this technology for biomarker discovery and will potentially help pave its path into the clinic as a diagnostic tool.

Lab Health and Safety

Sterilizing Safely

The focus of this article is ethylene oxide, a frequently used and potentially hazardous sterilizing agent.

Lab Health and Safety Tips

Separate Storage

Store acids and bases separately. Store fuels and oxidizers separately.

Product Focus

Product Focus: Biological Safety Cabinets

Biosafety cabinets (BSCs) protect lab environments and workers from potentially pathogenic organisms. Some types also protect samples from contaminants originating in labs.

Product Focus: pH Meters

The frequency of measuring might be one of the biggest trends in pH meters. “It used to be an occasional measurement, but now it’s every sample in some cases,” says George Porter, titration product manager at Metrohm (Riverview, FL).

Centrifuges: Safe and Energy-efficient Spinners Come in a Wide Range of Sizes

Today’s centrifuges are more sophisticated than ever. Consequently, customers can find platforms that fit right into today’s wide range of centrifuge applications. In fact, Nick Horsley, general manager at Hettich Instruments in Beverly, Massachusetts, says, “Centrifuge accessories have become very important.” Those accessories can help a lab select a system that can multitask.

Product Focus: HPLC Columns

As leading instrument and column makers continue to innovate, legacy methods, particularly in highly regulated pharmaceutical and environmental industries, continue to nudge the state of the art toward greater robustness and familiarity and away from the cutting edge.

Product Focus

Product Focus: Water Purification Systems

Water quality affects almost every result a laboratory generates. While lab workers tend to treat water as just another utility, lab managers often overspecify water quality.

Research-Specific Labs

Perspective On: A Drug Discovery Lab

As lab manager at the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute (UPDDI), Celeste Reese and her team use high-content imaging strategies and work with many other labs both within the university and outside the university on a wide range of projects.


INSIGHTS on Microplate Readers

While fully manual operations can be built around microplate formats, doing anything substantive without a microplate reader is virtually impossible. Detection modes define the instrument’s experimental capabilities.

Laboratory Technology

July 2014 Technology News

This month we highlight companies who will be exhibiting at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo (AACC 2014) and the 248th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition (ACS 2014). AACC 2014 will run July 27-31 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, while ACS 2014 takes place August 10-14 in San Francisco, California’s Moscone Center. Remember that the products shown here may not be at these shows, but the highlighted companies will be on hand to answer any questions you might have.

How it Works

Reducing Automation Set-Up Time

Problem: A laboratory scientist’s time is extremely precious, with a multitude of tasks to complete in order to produce meaningful data. With the vast majority of drug discovery research facilities and a growing number of academic laboratories now utilizing automated workflows, it is essential that they can be designed and set up with ease, regardless of their complexity.

How a Cloud-Based, Expandable Collaboration Tool Works

Problem: For many years, scientists have relied on traditional methods—primarily pen and paper notebooks—to record experimental and clinical data. This method is problematic in the new age of electronic living and working for several reasons. Paper notebooks can be easily lost, damaged or destroyed and often are transported with scientists as they change universities or jobs. Handwritten notes can be difficult to read and nearly impossible to share with anyone outside the immediate vicinity. The cost to academia and scientific research is high—it results in loss of data and in turn, productivity and efficiencies. 


2014 Chromatography Columns Survey Results

The wide spectrum of columns available makes selecting this most important component of an LC system extremely difficult. Column choices span normal phase, reverse phase, size exclusion, ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction, & affinity chromatography. One is hard-pressed to find a more innovative, self-reflective instrument market.

Are You in the Market for a... Thermal Analyzer?

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 on heating or cooling.

Maintenance Matters

Maintenance Matters: Mills & Grinders

Using mills and grinders can be a messy business, which is why cleaning and inspecting units’ parts is so important to keeping this lab equipment in top shape.

Products in Action

Adam Equipment’s Nimbus Balance Brings Precision and Performance to a Pinnacle

Innovative design enables a compact footprint, so the Nimbus occupies a minimal amount of space on the laboratory bench but maintains the highest level of performance. The base for the Nimbus is formed from a single piece of extruded aluminum, a material that effectively provides superior temperature regulation. The single-piece construction offers greater stability, enabling highly repeatable results.

A Combined Method for Quantitative and Qualitative Cell-based Research

Biochemical and cell based assays using a microplate reader provide quantitative data on ex vivo cell behavior, while viewing cells with a microscope allows researchers to see cellular and intra-cellular processes via fixed cells or with live cell imaging.  Both methods are equally important to life science research and the drug discovery process.  Together, these methods provide valuable, content rich data that otherwise requires the expense of multiple instrumentation. 

Products in Action

White Papers and Application Notes

Maximizing Reproducible Biological Sample Prep

Routine pipetting tasks across a larger number of samples can often be inefficient, complex, time consuming, and expensive. These hurdles can lead to increased training requirements, preparation time, procedural errors and ultimately hold back the pace of your experiments.

Products in Action

Designing an Ultra-Low Freezer You Can Trust for Your Sample Storage

Understanding “How It’s Made Matters” was the tenet around which the Helmer Scientific Ultra-Low Freezer was designed and developed.  Care was taken to focus on each aspect of the product to ensure that every component works together to create an optimized system that instills confidence in the user. 

Labconco’s Triad FreeZone Freeze Dryers used in Nanotechnology Research

Biological applications such as bioimaging, cancer treatment, tissue engineering and optical coding are just a few ways nanomaterials are being used in the lab today. Unfortunately, factors of nanoparticles, such as internal collisions with molecules, thermal motion, and gravitational forces affect the physical stability of nanoparticles making them difficult to work with in clinical applications or materials science.

PolyScience Temperature Control Solutions

PolyScience is a leading manufacturer of liquid temperature control solutions. Since 1963, PolyScience has responded to the needs of laboratory, plastics, medical, chemical and industrial markets with countless innovations. Our product offering includes circulating water baths, unstirred general purpose water baths, chillers and coolers and a range of application-specific products.

NuGenesis Lab Management System

Waters® NuGenesis® Lab Management System uniquely combines synergistic data, workflow and sample management capabilities to support the entire product lifecycle from discovery through manufacturing. This user-centric platform encompasses NuGenesis SDMS, compliance-ready data repository, NuGenesis ELN, a flexible analytical electronic laboratory notebook, and NuGenesis Sample Management.
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