How architects and designers help researchers become better at what they do
While it might be the season for beach trips and family vacations, for most of us those getaways only
fill a few weeks at best. After that, it’s back to the workplace or, in your case, the lab.
Lab Design and Furnishings
Designing for Science
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.
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.
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 of
electronic communication happening via computers, smartphones, and other personal devices.
Leadership and Staffing
It is a paradox of modern life that we are more connected with greater numbers of people, but we talk less. Studies report fewer face-to-face interactions in developed nations. Interpersonal chats are becoming briefer.
Stop Fixing People
Have you ever complained about having to parent another adult? Maybe you are trying too hard to fix them.
A forensics investigator dusts a crime scene for fingerprints. When she finds one, she reaches to her holster, pulls out a handheld device, and aims it at the fingerprint. The device captures the image and also the chemical composition. That chemical analysis reveals that the person who left the print had touched ephedrine—an illegal drug, which is a stimulant that goes by many street names, including meow. With this information, the investigators can use biometrics—the fingerprint— to identify the person and the chemical analysis to start piecing together the crime.
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.
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 software
and 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
Lab Health and Safety Tips
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
No Filters Needed - CLARIOstar® Microplate Reader
Easily measures live, cellular fluorescent protein assays.
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.
8 Detection Modes in 1 Microplate Reader
The SpectraMax® i3 Multi-Mode Detection Platform is a flexible, three-mode plate reader that evolves to fit your future application needs.
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.
Selectively Remove Phospholipids from Biological Matrices
Excessive background from endogenous sample matrix components has always been of great concern in bioanalysis, and has become paramount today with the need for decreasing analytical run times.
Meeting the demands of drug discovery and life sciences research with Tecan’s Infinite® M1000 PRO
The Infinite M1000 PRO is Tecan’s premium multimode microplate reader, offering outstanding performance for demanding applications in drug discovery, assay development and life sciences research. Its modular architecture offers complete flexibility, enabling the Infinite M1000 PRO to be tailored to individual application needs and budgets.
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.
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.