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Product Focus: Pipettes

In my days in the lab, a pipette seemed about as impersonal as a lab tool could get. Today’s world of scientific equipment offers many ways to personalize your pipetting. For old-school scientists like me, though, the first question is: why personalize a pipette?

Mike May, PhD

Mike May is a freelance writer and editor living in Texas.

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Product Focus: Pipettes

The fun and efficiency of personalization

Raymond Mercier, vice president and general manager of liquid handling consumables at Thermo Fisher Scientific, which is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, provides one answer. He says, “Selecting which pipette to use, and why, has a lot to do with personal preference.” He goes on to say, “The decision to use a particular brand, format, or style of pipette is based on what feels comfortable to the scientist using the tool.”

Looks matter

The look of a pipette might matter too. Mercier says, “We found that enabling scientists to modify the appearance of the instrument is a fun way to make the pipette unique to them.” Scientists can do that with Thermo Scientific’s customized MyPipette Skins. Mercier describes these as “decals that adhere to the pipette.” He adds, “There are over 7,000 licensed graphics that scientists can choose among.” And Mercier emphasizes, “There are no adverse effects on the performance of the pipette.”

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These skins can do more than make your pipettes look good. The personalizing can also be functional from a scientific perspective. As Mercier says, the skins “can even be used for quick reference in the lab to identify a particular volume range or a designated set of pipettes for a particular application.” Jennifer Carlson, lead research associate for translational research in the genomic oncology lab at Avera Health, a regional partnership of health professionals based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been using the MyPipette Skins on the Thermo Scientific ClipTip pipetting system. “For my pipettes, I’ve picked different patterns that match the color coding of the various sized pipette tips,” says Carlson. “Especially for the multichannels when setting up multiwell plates and switching back and forth between different pipettes, the skins help to easily identify which pipette you are using. We also have multiple sets of single channel pipettes, but the skins help differentiate among the applications the pipettes are meant to be used for,” Carlson says.

Customizing the control

Personalized pipetting also involves how a scientist controls it, such as the customization available with the PIPETMAN from Gilson (Middleton, WI). As Thierry Barthlen, Gilson product group manager, says, “To better control and adapt the pipettes to different applications, Gilson offers pipette settings that enable PIPETMAN users to personalize the pipette.” Plus, says Barthlen, “Selecting the tip ejector material, body shape, and tip ejector position allows basic customization.”

The ability to customize a PIPETMAN will soon expand even more. “To express individuality and let pipette users make this everyday tool truly personal, Gilson is developing a new accessory to enhance ergonomics and let pipette users create their own personal touches on their pipettes with customizable photos, required service dates, slogans, mottos, and so on,” says Barthlen.

Tools like these personalize pipetting and make science more fun and effective.

For additonal resources on pipettes, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit