Editor's Buzz

Knowing the Risks

This month’s cover story takes an in depth look at the impact of the first-inventor-to-file system that kicked in on March 16, 2013 under the America Invents Act.

Business Management

Changing the Rules

It has been over 40 months since President Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) into law in September 2011, climaxing years of feverish legislative wrangling. AIA was heralded as a game-changer, the dawning of an equitable intellectual property (IP) regimen that rewarded research scientists and innovators beset by ineffectual patent processes and procedures.

Managing Risk Takes Talent

Taking all the risk out of inherently risky situations has never been an easy task and probably never will be. (And no, I’m not talking about the Seahawks throwing a pass at the goal line instead of just running it in Super Bowl XLIX.) But for some industries and businesses, managing risk more successfully than others has become almost second nature.

Automating Sample Preparation

Sample preparation can be a labor-intensive and expensive process. What are the factors that should be considered when evaluating the possible transition from manual to semi-automated or fully automated systems? How do they impact your return on investment?

Leadership and Staffing

Your Lab as a Military Operation?

High performing teams consistently fare better than their competitors, especially when the pressure is on.

Managing Risk

Risk and related concepts such as risk management and risk communication can be difficult for lab managers to fully understand. However, those same managers may be engaged in actions associated with potentially disastrous risks.

Laboratory Technology

Launching a Big Data Project

Big data is the current hot buzzword in data analysis. Laboratory managers helming such a project don’t necessarily require the expertise to directly implement a big data project, but it is advisable that they have a general understanding of the process to be able to set realistic goals and timetables.

March 2015 Technology News

This month, we highlight companies that will be exhibiting at two upcoming tradeshows, Experimental Biology 2015 (EB 2015) and the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2015 annual meeting and Exhibit (AACR 2015). EB 2015 will take over the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA from March 28-April 1. AACR 2015 will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA, from April 18-22, 2015, with exhibit dates April 19-22. Remember that these specific technologies may not be at the show, but their manufacturers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Speedy Spectrometer

Near the end of January, SPECTRO Analytical Instruments announced the first spectrometer that allows users to quickly and easily select axial plasma or radial plasma observation in a single instrument without any optical compromise—the ARCOS.

Lab Health and Safety

Stripper, Anyone?

Now that we have your attention, we have to dash your hopes. This is not a column about Vegas and “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” kind of fun. It is going to provide vital safety information on one of the most widely used laboratory solvents. The title is derived from what is probably the best-known common use of the term outside laboratories— i.e., a chemical stripper or stripping agent.

Lab Health and Safety Tips

Provide Secure, Adequately Spaced, Ventilated Storage of Chemicals

In academic institutions, the most serious issue is the restriction of access to hazardous chemicals to appropriate personnel.

Ask the Expert

Going Green in the Sample Prep World

Karyn M. Usher is an analytical chemist in the Department of Natural Sciences at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN. At Metro State, her research has focused on sample preparation for the determination of analytes in complex matrices by high performance liquid chromatography.

Innovations in Mass Spectrometry

Dr. Guido Verbeck, associate professor of chemistry at the University of North Texas and director for the Laboratory of Imaging Mass Spectrometry, designs novel ion optical devices for miniaturization, preparative, and analytical mass spectrometry. He has developed a miniature ion trap mass spectrometer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, three preparative mass spectrometers for combing new materials and catalysts, and a number of novel analytical applications for single cell and forensic analysis. Dr. Verbeck received his PhD as a Proctor & Gamble fellow in chemistry at Texas A&M University.


INSIGHTS on Sports Doping

Sports is big business, which is why leagues and federations are desperate to keep their franchises honest. In the US, Major League Baseball (MLB) received a record $9 billion in revenues in 2014, while the National Football League took in close to $10 billion. 

INSIGHTS on Developing Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Clinicians and patients alike know that traditional cancer treatments beat up the person as much as the cancer. Success arises only if the treatment kills the cancer before the patient. For decades, researchers sought solutions that attacked only the cancer, not healthy tissue.

Product Focus

Gas Chromatography Systems: The Sample and Application Determine the Best Detector

Once gas chromatography (GC) separates a sample into its component parts, a detector identifies them. All detectors provide certain benefits and struggle with some limitations. Whether some feature is beneficial or detrimental, however, depends on the sample and the application.

Imaging Systems for Biology: Responding to Multidisciplinary Needs

Advances in computer hardware and software, data storage and processing, optics, systems and instrumentation, labeling agents, and reagents have all contributed to the current surge in imaging in the life sciences.

Sample Conditions Today and Tomorrow Determine the Specs to Select When Buying a Stirrer

Some scientific and even industrial stirring applications seem no more complex than mixing milk in your coffee, but others demand much more control. In fact, some of the most demanding stirring applications might not even sound so complicated, including dissolving powdered milk in water, combining oil and water, incorporating pigments in a base coat of paint, and so on.

Assuring Safe Operation of Microwave Digesters

Microwave digestion in concentrated acid reliably eliminates sample matrix while rendering metals to species appropriate for analysis by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry or atomic absorption.


2015 HPLC System Product Survey Results

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is, for many scientists, an essential chromatographic technique. HPLC systems used for the separation, identification, purification, and quantification of various chemical and biochemical solutions are composed of a pump, a sample injector, a separation column, a detection unit, and a data-processor.

2015 Automated Liquid Handling System Product Survey Results

Automated liquid handling (ALH) systems span the range from semi-automated multichannel pipettors to room-sized systems. The industry is trending toward versatile, modular ALH systems—seemingly for every budget. Likewise, instrumentation, software, and methods have followed the trend toward greater user accessibility.

2015 Laboratory Glassware Washer Product Survey Results

Whether to employ central washing stations or point-of-use washers located under a lab bench or in a corner is something that has to be addressed with regards to laboratory glassware washers. The former provide an economy of scale and are popular with lab workers who, almost universally, hate to “wash the dishes.” The downside for central washing stations is that glassware tends to disappear over time, due to breakage and operator error.

2015 Glove Box Product Survey Results

Glove boxes go by many different names and are used for many purposes. However, their essential attribute is the ability to maintain a completely separate environment from ambient. Glove boxes are completely closed compartments ranging in size from a few cubic feet to several hundred cubic feet and differ from other safety enclosures in two significant respects: users can introduce articles into glove boxes and manipulate them inside through ports fitted with gloves, and glove boxes typically use a specialized atmosphere.

How it Works

How High-Pressure Mass Spectrometry Works

Problem: In the analytical sciences the common image of mass spectrometry involves researchers in a core facility, analyzing spectra generated by a machine the size of a refrigerator. Because conventional mass spectrometers operate under extreme vacuum, they must be coupled with pumps that are expensive, bulky, noisy, and fragile. These powerhouse systems are designed to accommodate a wide variety of often-disparate needs, and this flexibility adds complexity in both operation and maintenance.

How a Sampling Device for Mucocellular Material Works

Problem: Research into gastrointestinal diseases often presents clinicians and researchers with difficulties in terms of collecting samples from patients for analysis. The very nature of the gastrointestinal tract makes it relatively inaccessible for simple, effective sampling. Current processes require the patient to collect samples of stool, have a rectal swab taken or a tissue biopsy during endoscopy. Each of these methods is not without its problems, whether for the patient, the clinician, or the researcher.

Products in Action

Get Control in GMP Environments

Floor-standing ultracentrifuges and high-performance centrifuges are vital to many bioproduction  processes. Instruments are run in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environments, and must support compliance with these regulations. Innovative features built into Optima XPN and Avanti JXN Series centrifuges support GMP compliance while eliminating much of the administrative work of other systems.

E-WorkBook 10: All the Power You'd Expect from E-WorkBook, Now on the Web

At IDBS, our sights are firmly set on enabling collaboration, helping research and development (R&D) organizations gain greater insight from their data and getting their products to market quicker. So we asked ourselves how we could make this simpler. With E-WorkBook 10, not only will you have the power and performance you’ve come to expect from E-WorkBook, you’ll also discover the simplicity and ease of use that comes from an intuitively designed interface, and the flexibility and mobility that comes from our web-based spreadsheet technology.