David Suzuki Work-life balance
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Design with flexibility
UBC lab looks for causes, preventions and treatment
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CONTENTS 9 WORK LESS, LIVE BETTER By David suzuki
Better work-life balance will provide individual, economic and environmental advantages.
THE VITAMIN A FACTOR
DESIGNING MICROFABRICATION LAB EQUIPMENT WITH RESEARCH FLEXIBILITY IN MIND
By Hermione Wilson
BY DEL WILLIAMS
Townsend Family Laboratories studies the relationship between vitamin A deficiency and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
R&D labs face challenges with cleanroom setup and procedures to meet the needs of diverse users.
standards guest editorial 5 Canadian news 6 worldwide news 7 Lab ware 17 moments in time 19
Do the flip!
Read how Ontario stays in the bio game.
Company to WatCh Synaptive Medical is LSO’s Company of the Year 15
human ResouRCes BioTalent award highlights young talent 23
moments in time
Dr. Judes Poirier’s discovery of a possible risk factor for Alzheimer’s 27
DaviD suzuki Work-life balance
cleanrooms The DefiniTive Source for Lab ProDucTS, newS anD DeveLoPmenTS
Design with flexibility
Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada
on twitter at @biolabmag
UBC lab looks for causes, preventions and treatment
innovation Life sciences take the spotlight in province’s rich history of discovery
On the Web at www.labbusinessmag.com
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he Naylor Report has finally arrived. Like a blind date who’s an hour late, we look carefully at what’s before us and wonder if it was worth the wait. The first impression: Doesn’t look bad. Let’s give it a chance. Commissioned by the federal government, the Naylor report – Investing in Canada's Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research – is the first investigation into government support of public science in 40 years. Forty years is too long to wait for such an important study. That the report was released well behind schedule only added to the suspense, intrigue and frustration. The authors – a panel of experts led by David Naylor, former President of the University of Toronto – deserve praise for recommending an additional $1.3 billion in new public funds for scientific research by 2022 (from $3.5 billion annually to $4.8 billion). And, importantly, for recommending a reorienting of priorities – away from the business-first approach to research, with the National Research Council acting as a concierge to business interests, toward a system that prioritizes investigator-led research (although getting products to market remains an important goal for the report’s authors). The report has a few blemishes – or, in this case, a few loops of red tape. If the government enacts the recommendations in the report, scientists will see yet another level of bureaucracy added to the machinery of public science. Naylor et al. recommend the creation of a new national advisory council on innovation, to be overseen by the federal government’s yet-to-be appointed Chief Science Officer. The report tries to compensate for this increase in the bureaucracy by recommending that government harmonize existing oversight bodies and improve coordination between agencies. But it’s still leadership piled on oversight buried under management. Efficient it is not. But on the whole, the report and its recommendations can make a difference in the lives of Canadian researchers, particularly young Canadian researchers. During the lengthy consultation process – the panel reviewed 1,200 submissions and heard from 230 researchers from across Canada – young researchers reported feeling stalled in their careers, unable to obtain funding they need to advance their research and unable to find stable long-term positions. The report outlines a sensible response. First, government should enhance supports for researchers and trainees. And second, government should develop an environment where young researchers can gain the experience that funding mechanisms demand from applicants. Fair is fair – if you’ll only give money to experienced researchers, you better find ways of giving new scientists experience. If funding for less experienced researchers doesn’t materialize, Canada will lose its best young scientists to other countries. Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science, and her boss Justin Trudeau should heed the message of the report: Don’t squander the potential of our young scientists. Don’t let that intellectual capital expire, and don’t let another country steal it away. Investing in Canada’s Future is as comprehensive a review of Canada’s federal science funding as we’ll ever see. Or need. What Canadian scientists need now is a government that will act. They need a government that will commit a little more money to science research – just $1.3 billion – a fraction of a per cent of total government spending. The report offers another important takeaway. Government, business and the public – all of us, really – need to stop confusing innovation with scientific research. Researchers explore and discover. Innovators extend the use of what has already been discovered. Primary research, ignored under the previous federal government, deserves renewed attention. We should pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and because having an innovative economy means first having something with which to innovate.
Robert Price is the former Managing Editor of this publication. Follow him @pricerobertg. www.labbusinessmag.com
Canadian NEWS Canada’s Last Ice Area Potential World Heritage Site
A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified seven globally significant marine sites in the Arctic Ocean including two in Canada that warrant protection and could qualify for World Heritage status. The Canadian sites include Remnant Arctic Multi-Year Sea Ice and the Northeast Water Polynya Ecoregion, and The North Baffin Bay Ecoregion. Together, these sites make up the Last Ice Area, the region where summer sea ice is expected to last the longest. These sites, identified by WWF more than 10 years ago, can be a refuge for ice-dependent species that will move northward as the planet warms. .
UL Combustion Lab Approved for NOx Testing
UL, a global safety science organization, announced in March that the company’s Toronto-based safety testing facility for appliances and controls is one of the few Canadian facilities approved for nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions testing. NOx testing is required by South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in Southern California, which sets emissions testing requirements for the region. Canadian gas appliance manufacturers now have the benefits of a local NOx test laboratory, facilitating one-stop-shopping access to the lucrative California market.
Conference Looks to Stop Food Fraud
In April, senior international food regulators and experts from academia, government, industry, and international organizations met at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec to discuss challenges posed by food fraud and to develop a path for collective action. Such incidents hurt consumers’ confidence in the integrity and authenticity of the food they purchase and may pose a public health threat, when adulteration of foods involves harmful substances. Developing tools and solutions to prevent such issues continues to be a global area of concern.
March/April 2017 Lab Business
Canada 150 Research Chairs Program to Attract Top International Scientists and Innovators
he Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced on April 3 at the University of Waterloo that the federal government will invest $117.6 million over eight years for the new Canada 150 Research Chairs program. The program provides one-time funding in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. “I am pleased to announce the Government of Canada’s support for recruiting top talent from the world’s science and technology Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science sector. Attracting international researchers and scholars to Canada is critical for us as a country. These efforts will also ensure the next generation of students learn from the best and brightest talent in the world, seeing what they have to offer so that they are better prepared for the highly skilled jobs of the future,” says Duncan. Canada is committed to attracting world-leading scholOpening Canada’s doors to ars and researchers who will talented scientists and help further the country’s repuresearchers from around the tation as a global centre of world will help bring new excellence in science, research ideas and fresh perspectives, and innovation. Talented scholwhile creating good, wellars and researchers enrich unipaying jobs, growing the versities across Canada and economy, and strengthening better prepare students to the middle class. become the professionals of tomorrow. The government anticipates that the drive to recruit new chairs will take months, not years, and will encourage equity and diversity among successful candidates. Opening Canada’s doors to talented scientists and researchers from around the world will help bring new ideas and fresh perspectives, while creating good, well-paying jobs, growing the economy, and strengthening the middle class.
Worldwide NEWS Pittcon Announces Finalists for the Pittcon Today Excellence Awards
ittcon, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, announce the selection of eight finalists in the first Pittcon Today Excellence Awards. The awards were designed to recognize innovations at this year’s exposition and offer a new channel for exhibitors to showcase their scientific advancements. From a UV spectrometer, to tools advancing biology, to robotics facilitating more efficient medical practices, judges viewed all types of scientific innovations and selected finalists out of a diverse pool of more than 80 submissions. A blue chip panel of judges, consisting of thought leaders from across academia, industry and trade media selected this year’s winners based on submissions’ ingenuity, creativity, implementation and outcomes, as well as the products’ projected impact on the industry and wider public. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were categorized in three groups based on company reported sales. The winning companies and products were: Less than $10,000,000 in sales • GOLD – Biovendor Instruments – MALDI COLONYST • SILVER – Elemission Inc.– Mission Coriosity • Bronze was withdrawn $10,000, 000 – $100,000,000 in sales • GOLD – Hirschmann Inc. – Opus Dispenser • SILVER – Metrohm – Process Ion Chromatograph • BRONZE – Tosoh Bioscience LLC – TSKgel Protein A-5PW HLPC Column More than $100,000,000 in sales • GOLD – Waters Corporation – ACQUITY QDa Mass Detector • SILVER – Phenomenex – β-Gone β-Glucuronidase Removal products • BRONZE – Beckman Coulter Life Sciences – New Optima AUC Analytical Ultracentrifuge When asked to comment on winning the Bronze, Beckman Coulter’s Chad Schwartz, AUC Product Manager stated, “We are beyond excited to be considered as one of the eight finalists for Pittcon’s Excellence Award. Such a prestigious honor validates all of the hard work and passion that went into the development of this new technology.” Gold recipient, Jonathan Scott, Product Manager, ACQUITY QDa Detector for Waters commented, “Since the introduction of the ACQUITY QDa Detector in 2013, we at Waters have been delighted to see the positive impact that mass detection has had on scientists across different disciplines.” This year’s finalists were among nearly 800 exhibitors at the recent Chicago event. Pittcon attracts attendees from industry, academia and government from 90 countries worldwide. Pittcon 2018 will be held February 26 – March 1, 2018, in Orlando, FL.
King Honours Globally Acclaimed Scientists
The King Faisal International Prize honours exceptional achievements in a number of key areas, including Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science. Among the winners this year were: Tadamitsu Kishimoto, Professor of Immunology Frontier Research Center at Osaka University, who received the Prize of Medicine for developing a novel biologic therapy for autoimmune diseases. Daniel Loss and Professor Laurens Molenkamp, physicists from Switzerland and Germany, won the Prize of Medicine. King Salman commended the efforts of the scientists and researchers in creating a better world.
MURR Looks to Produce Medical Isotopes
The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) and its partners marked a critical step toward implementing domestic U.S. production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Once operational, production from this facility will be capable of supporting nearly half of U.S. demand for Mo-99, which currently must be imported from outside North America. A medical isotope is a safe radioactive substance used by health professionals to diagnose and treat patients who suffer from a variety of conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Almost 50 million such procedures are performed every year. The most important isotope, technetium-99m (Tc-99m), is produced from Mo-99 and is used in more than 80 per cent of all nuclear medicine procedures.
Canada Gairdner Awards Recognize Research
The Canada Gairdner Awards recognize some of the most significant medical discoveries from around the world. An honorarium of $100,000 for each of the seven awards and will be presented at a gala in Toronto on October 26, 2017. Some laureates include Dr. Akira Endo who discovered the first statin drug, compactin, that treats coronary heart disease and Dr. David Julius who discovered how signals responsible for temperature and pain sensation are transmitted by neural circuits to the brain. The awards are Canada’s only globally known and respected international science awards.
By David Suzuki with contributions from Ian Hanington
work less live better
We need to to
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Ian Hanington is Senior Editor, David Suzuki Foundation. Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.
ince the 1950s, almost everything about work in the developed world has changed dramatically. Rapid technological advances continue to render many jobs obsolete. Globalization has shifted employment to parts of the world with the lowest costs and standards. Most households have gone from one incomeearner to at least two. Women have fully integrated into the workforce, albeit often with less-thanequal opportunities, conditions and pay. A lot of our work is unnecessary and often destructive — depleting resources, destroying ecosystems, polluting air, water and soil, and fuelling climate change. Yet we’re still working the same or more hours later into life within the same outdated and destructive system, furiously producing, consuming and disposing on a wheel of endless growth and conspicuous consumption. The gap between rich and poor is widening and working people — and those who can’t find work — are falling further behind, crushed by growing debt, increased competition for scarce jobs and declining real wages and benefits. Although unions deserve credit for many gains working people have enjoyed over the past century or more, they also merit some criticism. In the face of technological advances and globalization, unions have failed to fight for steadily reduced work hours, focusing instead on higher wages and better benefits — although lately it’s more fighting to prevent drastic cuts to jobs, wages and benefits. Many people are tired, too stretched to become politically engaged or even to spend as much time with family and friends as they’d like, and the grinding consumer cycle doesn’t bring them real joy or fulfilment.
March/April 2017 Lab Business
As with climate change, gradual reform could have forestalled the drastic actions now needed, but addressing the issue now will do far more good for a greater number of people than doing nothing — and it will become more difficult and costly the longer we put off necessary action. It’s absurd that so many people still work eight hours a day, five days a week — or more — with only a few weeks’ vacation a year, often needing two incomes to support a household. Our economic system was developed when resources seemed plentiful if not inexhaustible, and physical infrastructure was lacking. We need an overhaul to meet today’s conditions rather than those that existed decades ago when we were unaware of many of the potential negative consequences of our actions. Research points to many advantages of reforms such as reduced work hours and universal basic income. In Gothenburg, Sweden, workers at a care home for the elderly were put on a six-hour workday as part of a two-year controlled study. Although hiring 15 new employees to cover the workload drove costs up by about 22 per cent, spending was reduced in areas like covering sick leave, which dropped by 10 per cent. Workers reported health improvements at rates 50 per cent higher than workers at institutions with regular working hours. Patient care also improved. Women with children benefited substantially. Many global warming impacts could also be lessened with small work-hour reductions, through shorter workweeks and increased vacation time, a 2013 report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington-based thinktank, concluded. “By itself, a combination of shorter workweeks and additional vacation which reduces average annual hours by just 0.5 per cent per year would very likely mitigate one-quarter to one-half, if not more, of any warming which is not yet locked-in,” report author and economist David Rosnick said. A four-day workweek (as David Suzuki Foundation staff enjoy) cuts pollution and emissions from commuting and, in many cases, reduces energy consumption. When Utah went to a four-day week for government employees in 2007, the state saved $1.8 million in energy costs alone. Fewer commutes led to an estimated reduction of more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. A better work-life balance also brings many individual and societal advantages. Family life is strengthened, people have more time for creative or educational pursuits, and happier, rested employees are more productive. As more people share in available jobs, social service costs go down and more people are able to contribute to economic prosperity. A lot needs to be done to reform our economic systems and to address critical issues like pollution and climate change. Reducing work hours is one way to make substantial gains. LB
A Lab PROFILE
UBC lab finds connection with Alzheimer’s disease
he Townsend Family Laboratories (TFL) at the University of British Columbia was established in July 2008 by founding director Weihong Song and with financial support from the David Townsend family. The main goal is to discover how genetic and non-genetic factors contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and find new targets of Alzheimer’s drug development. The lab also focuses on the link between Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s syndrome. “We’re basically looking for the molecular and cellular mechanism underlying how people develop Alzheimer’s disease, and also how Alzheimer’s and dementia develop in [people with] Down’s syndrome,” says Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease and professor of psychiatry at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. Almost all people with Down’s syndrome will
What my lab has been doing is
examining why those gene mutations cause Alzheimer’s disease development ... – Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease and professor of psychiatry at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.
January/February 2017 Lab Business
Lab PROFILE develop typical Alzheimer’s neuropathology after middle age, Song says. That includes the development of neuritic plaque (also known as senile plaque), neurofibrillary tangles in the brain and Alzheimer’srelated dementia. TFL is actually comprised of five labs including Genetic Lab for Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Lab for Animal Models of Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Molecular Biology Lab, Behavioural Lab, and Drug Development Lab. As the lab is primarily involved in molecular and cellular work, it is equipped with PCR machines, genome sequencing machines and other tools necessary for the study of proteins and genes. There are also special behavioural testing facilities for the mice models of Alzheimer’s disease that the researchers work with. There are a total of 12 people working at the TFL, the majority of which are PhD students and post-doctoral fellows. “What my lab has been doing for the past 25 years is really focus on how the beta amyloid – [which] is
central to neuritic plaque formation – how that ABeta is being produced and how it is being cleared,” Song says. Beta Amyloid, or ABeta, is a peptide derived from a larger protein called the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and is a central component of neuritic plaque, he explains. The gene for encoding the amyloid precursor protein from which ABeta is derived also happens to be located on chromosome 21. Down’s syndrome is caused when a person is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21 and a rare form of Alzheimer’s known as early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (or FAD) – which occurs in less than 1 per cent of cases of Alzheimer’s disease is caused by single-gene mutations on chromosomes 21, 14 and 1, specifically mutations in the Presenilin-1 and Presenilin-2 genes and the APP gene. “What my lab has been doing is examining why those gene mutations cause Alzheimer’s disease development and looking for the impact on the ABeta production, because a mutation of the APP genes and the Presenilin genes could affect how APP is produced,” Song says.
When fed a diet low in vitamin A, pregnant mice gave birth to offspring who developed Alzheimer’s pathologies much earlier and whose cognitive function was lower than normal.
March/April 2017 Lab Business
Song and his fellow researchers at TFL hypothesize that understanding the mechanisms behind why ABeta accumulates in the brain and causes nerve death, leading to the development of Alzheimer’s, will allow them to control the production of the protein and perhaps prevent the formation of the neuritic plaque. The current hypothesis, Song says, is that the more APP that is produced, the more plaque that forms in the brain. The lab is currently looking at how genetic components affect APP production. The researchers have considered environmental factors such as low oxygen levels going to the brain, during a stroke for example, and traumatic brain injuries. “Additionally we are looking for any potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease,” Song says. “Previously, we published a study looking at the inhibitor of the enzyme that produces ABeta [as] a potential treatment.” The thinking is that if the activity of the enzyme could be inhibited and not allowed it to produce ABeta, the patient would not develop Alzheimer’s. In a recent study, published January 27, 2017 in Acta Neuropathologica, Song and his colleagues investigated the role of vitamin A deficiency in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Retinoic acid is an active component of vitamin A; it is also important for skin development, vision and the proper functioning of the immune system. “Vitamin A or retinoic acid has previously been shown to affect brain development,” Song adds. The vitamin A study which he and his colleagues authored was based on a previous one where they surveyed 330 elderly people in Chongquing, China, and found that 75 per cent of those with mild or significant vitamin A deficiency had cognitive impairment, compared to 47 per cent of those with normal vitamin A levels. In the more recent study, Song and his colleagues, in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Chongquing Medical University (with whom the lab has been collaborating with for many years) looked at transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s. These mice have the Alzheimer’s phenotype or pathology, Song says; their brains already contain the neuritic plaque characteristic of the disease. When fed a diet low in vitamin A, pregnant mice gave birth to offspring who developed Alzheimer’s pathologies much earlier and whose cognitive function was lower than normal. “That indicates that a vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy, in the womb, has a longlasting detrimental effect on the mice in terms of developing dementia at a later stage,” Song says. As to why low levels of vitamin A in the womb would cause cognitive deficits later in life, Song says it is thought that the corresponding low levels of retinoic acid, the active component in vitamin A, trigger more ABeta production, which leads to the forming of plaque in the brain. While vitamin A deficiency is not as common in North America as it once was, it is still a prevalent health issue in some developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 250 million preschool children are vitamin A-deficient. In the vitamin A study, Song and his colleagues attempted to correct the effects of vitamin A deficiency in the newborn mice by feeding them a vitamin A supplement. Song says this led to some reversal of negative cognitive effects later on, but only when the vitamin A supplement was given early in the their lives at high doses. Song is determined. “[My lab] is dedicated to finding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and developing interventions to prevent and treat this devastating disease.” LB
[My lab] is dedicated to finding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and
developing interventions to prevent and treat this devastating disease. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Weihong Song
Designing Microfabrication Lab Equipment with Research Flexibility in Mind Optimizing R&D labs usually involves vendor collaboration and planning to provide required versatility
March/April 2017 Lab Business
JST Manufacturing Inc.
s research has become more complex, sophisticated cleanrooms have become a virtual necessity for a wide range of cutting edge physical science, material science, and biomedical disciplines. Due to the financial investment required for such facilities, both university and private R&D laboratories are designed and built to accommodate the needs of a wide range of researchers. This presents a challenge: few administrators have the experience to select and set up lab equipment with the versatility required to serve such a diverse group of users over decades of continually changing research. Now a growing number of lab administrators are optimizing their microfabrication equipment, both for current and future needs, by involving their vendors early in the process. This enables expert planning as well as the selection of standard equipment options that can improve safety, usability, and efficiency while cutting cost. “Often university lab administrators have never built their own cleanroom before, so they hire an architectural firm to do the design, but are still a little lost on how to lay out the equipment for all the different potential uses,” says Louise Bertagnolli, president of JST Manufacturing in Boise, ID. “Because universities are always pushing the boundaries of research, the equipment has to be very flexible so it can be used in ways not even conceived of yet.” A nationwide manufacturer of manual and automated wet processing equipment, JST’s mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineers have many years of experience in industries including semiconductors, both silicon and compound, MEMS, photovoltaics, LEDs, Flat Panel Displays, and sensors.
From left to right: JST Manufacturing Inc. apps lab. Cleaning in progress. JST Manufacturing research lab.
Whether for compound semiconductor, nanotechnology, Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS), biophotonics, biomedical electronics, or creating solar power alternatives to traditional silicon wafer construction, much of the advanced research done in labs today requires microfabrication operations. This typically includes wet processing equipment for metal lift-off, stripping, etching, plating/ coating, cleaning, and de-bonding. Dennis M. Schweiger, Senior Director of Infrastructure at the University of Michigan’s Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF), feels that the right combination of user requirements and assistance from the equipment fabricator can make a significant difference in the design, layout, and operation of a wet processing station. The LNF is a world-class facility in all areas of semiconductor device and circuit fabrication, integrated microsystems and MEMS technologies, nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanobiotechnology. The LNF is an open use facility with hundreds of users from various UM departments, as well as many other universities and businesses. Schweiger states, “Since we essentially rent lab space and equipment to our diverse users, it is important that we provide them with benches that suit their purposes well, from those who are processing wafers to those who may be doing very advanced research or testing on non-wafer components.” According to Bertagnolli, who has guided numerous R&D lab administrators through the equipment design and selection process, the main concern is about setting up the cleanroom and procedures to serve the needs of users, but the process is not always well defined and there are many unknowns. “When designing and laying out cleanroom equipment, it is important to talk with a vendor or consultant with the experience to help you achieve your evolving research goals,” says Bertagnolli. “It is also essential that they help ensure it is correctly set up,
Often university lab administrators have never built their own cleanroom before, so they hire an architectural firm to do the design, but are still a little lost on how to lay out the equipment for all the different potential uses – Louise Bertagnolli, President, JST Manufacturing
that the proper safety, operation, and maintenance procedures are in place, and that lab managers are properly trained to carry these out.” Bertagnolli says that maintaining safety and flexible function for wet processing equipment often requires selecting the most appropriate options from a number of technologies. This may involve various chemistries, temperature controls, chemical baths/dips, ergonomic designs, as well as cleaning, filtration, ventilation, safety, and disposal technologies. Designing Modular and Custom Parameters To facilitate the economical design and building of a wet processing equipment solution, many users insist on a standardized approach with customizable features that will best handle their applications parameters. For example, JST utilizes standard products and standard methodologies to design and manufacture equipment. The equipment is modular by design, allowing for easy changing and reconfiguration should process or product requirements change. Another powerful feature: each unit is designed with software that is capable of performing all tool functions, including those that are not required. With this, end users can create their own process, or recipes, with all subroutines at their disposal. “We like to give customers added f lexibility by programming their equipment to do everything that the equipment is capable of doing,” explains Bertagnolli. “This enables them to dial in applications, such as chemical concentrations. They can also turn various features on or off, depending on your process requirements. Even though they may not need some of the features today, they may want to turn them on in the future, which can be both economical and powerful.” Specifying the design parameters for many manual benches may not be as involved as those of automated systems.
March/April 2017 Lab Business
Single wafer spray chamber
However, soliciting the opinion of equipment manufacturers regarding equipment design may be highly beneficial. “Certain processes like etchings and cleanings lab managers will want to be flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of users and projects,” says Bertagnolli. “We are often asked for tank construction materials that can withstand a number of concentrated acids, so part of design flexibility is ensuring you use the most compatible materials for the most acids.” “Another aspect to consider is properly separating, neutralizing, and disposing of all the chemistries involved after use, whether in drains or tanks for treatment or pick up,” she adds. According to Bertagnolli, having the vendor visit the user’s facility can contribute to equipment design versatility that can accommodate changes in lab use over the long term. “An eye toward optimizing working space, operating cost, or maintenance can go a long way toward creating a cleanroom that will serve the user community well now and in the future,” says Bertagnolli. Optimizing LNF’s Lab The LNF’s Schweiger at the University of Michigan explains that the original
equipment design for the new lab areas wet processing benches was very specific, and determined by LNF staff. “We had looked at it in terms of process flow, from start to finish, not really taking into account the variety, and variation, of process samples that our user community might be working with, how we’d accommodate non-standard sample sizes, or what the impact might be in total cost of ownership with respect to chemical usage,” he says. Schweiger adds that the some of the new benches had their decks reconfigured once the tools were installed. Several of the earlier benches, some of which were purchased over 20 years ago, were also modified to allow for more flexibility in meeting the process needs of the user community. “In retrospect, our initial plan for the deck space, and processing capability of the benches, wasn’t adaptable or flexible enough, and we worked with JST to implement modifications so that the bench decks were simpler, and could provide more working space,” Schweiger concluded. LB
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.
Lab WARE Two-in-one Gemini 88 Plus Dual Rate Syringe Pump
KD Scientifics’ new Gemini 88 Plus Dual Rate Syringe Pump provides two independent pumping channels linked through hardware and software in one instrument. It can infuse simultaneously at different rates, or infuse with one syringe and withdraw with the other. When combined with a valve box, it provides the continuous delivery of a peristaltic or piston pump with the accuracy, absence of pulsation, and low flow rates of a syringe pump. It features a large touch screen display, high or low pressure operation, and TTL, USB and RS-232 communication. www.kdscientific.com
High Quality Scanning with ZEISS FPX Flat Panel Extension
The new ZEISS FPX flat panel extension by Carl Zeiss Microscopy is an all-in-one tool that delivers large-sample, high throughput scanning, and in-class image quality. Combined with the high resolution of ZEISS Xradia Versa X-ray microscopes (XRM), it enhances imaging flexibility by scouting large samples two to five times faster to identify a region of interest and achieve whole-sampling imaging up to five inches in diameter for samples 10 times greater in volume. Researchers are now able to quickly and effectively perform inspection, analysis and root cause determination in minimal time. www.zeiss.com
Ocean FX Spectrometer Provides High Acquisition Speed
The latest miniature spectrometer from Ocean Optics, called Ocean FX, offers high-sensitivity CMOS detector performance, acquisition speed up to 3,000 scans per second, and onboard spectral buffering to ensure data integrity during reaction monitoring. Its onboard buffer holds up to 50,000 spectra and functions via Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi or USB. It is effective in high-speed sorting, grading in production environments, measurement of transient events, and reaction kinetics monitoring for drug development and similar applications. Ocean FX is anchored by a high-sensitivity CMOS detector; available with interchangeable slits; and captures up to 3,000 spectral scans per second, depending on the performance of the operating system to which it is connected. Ocean FX is available in versions optimized for the UV-Vis (200-850 nm), Vis-NIR (3501000 nm) and extended (200-1025 nm) wavelength ranges. http://oceanoptics.com
New Weirless Radial Diaphragm Valves Feature Contamination-Free Tech
Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group’s new ASEPCO Weirless Radial diaphragm valves feature contamination-free technology that eliminates dead legs and cross-contamination. The ASEPCO Weirless valves offers the installation flexibility necessary to enable the most compact skid possible, thereby optimizing processing for efficient sterilization in place (SIP) processes. Bioprocessors can optimize their bottom line by achieving quicker throughput, since smaller and more compact systems require less time to get up to temperature and achieve sterilization. WMFTG’s new valves have a clean, self-draining design with an easy-to use clamp assembly to make inspection and diaphragm change quick and easy. The valves are easy to seal and inspect and never need retightening or adjustment. No tools are required for maintenance. This reduces maintenance costs by up to 80 per cent. www.watson-marlow.com/ca-en
GC Analyzer Solutions for Petrochemical, Environmental and Food Safety Applications
SCION Instruments recently announced its new GC analyzer solutions which tailor the capabilities of gas chromatography systems to meet specific analytical requirements. Building on a legacy in GC stretching back to Varian, SCION Instruments’ customers benefit from SCION’s unique experience in providing configured and custom GC solutions. For 2017, several new analyzer solutions are featured including, the SCION SPT (Sample Pre-concentration Trap) is a very powerful tool to help chromatographers to perform low-level determinations. The applicability ranges from environmental to gas purity analysis. SCION also presents a system for gas analysis making use of the latest technologies in instrumentation as well as column technology. The result is fast analysis with a large dynamic range, from ppm to 100%. www.scioninstruments.com
Thermo Scientific System Features Triple Quadropole Mass Spectrometer
The new Thermo Scientific iCAP TQ ICPMS system provides access to a triple quadropole mass spectrometer that offers advanced interference removal and lower detection limits for sample matrices. The Thermo Scientific EPA 8270D is designed to support the detection and monitoring of soil, drinking water and wastewater for semivolatile organic compounds. The Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS23-4µm analytical and guard columns use smaller resin particles to enable separation and detection of oxyhalides and common inorganic anions in drinking water, groundwater, and wastewater. The Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac CS20 ion chromatography columns provide high selectivity for the detection of alkyl and alkanol amines within environmental samples at one percent of the flow rate of standard bore systems, saving on operating costs and waste production, while maintaining performance. www.thermofisher.com/TQ-ICP-MS
First Chromatograph for Quantitative Determination of Cannabinoid Content
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments’ new Cannabis Analyzer for is the first-ever high-performance liquid chromatograph designed specifically for quantitative determination of cannabinoid content. It produces accurate results regardless of the operator’s cannabis testing knowledge or chromatography experience. The Cannabis Analyzer for Potency integrates instrument hardware, analytical workflows, and supplies, including an analytical column, guard columns, mobile phase, and a CRM standard mixture. The High Throughput method package is designed for the quantitative potency determination of the 10 cannabinoids of greatest interest in less than eight minutes per sample. The High Resolution method package presents full baseline resolution for all 11 compounds in less than 30 minutes and offers the ability to expand the target list as regulations change. The Cannabis Analyzer comes with a three-year warranty and preventive maintenance plan. www.ssi.shimadzu.com
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Moments in time
THE MONTREAL ASSESSMENT I
Dr. Ziad Nasreddine
n 1996, Dr. Ziad Nasreddine had only been working at the Neuro Rive-Sud Clinic in Montreal for two weeks when he realized he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get any work done unless he streamlined the 90-minute cognitive assessments for dementia . Since the mid-1970s, the Mini-Mental State Examination has been used for cognitive screening, but it was not sensitive enough to evaluate signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Between 1996 and 2005 Nasreddine and a team of researchers developed a tool that would provide an in-depth diagnosis for early signs of dementia. The paper-andpen assessment, known as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) only takes 10 minutes and is based on 11 sub-tests such as attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language, and visuoconstructional skills. It determines mental processes of different individuals while considering their level of education. The MoCA is free and is translated into at least 43 languages and dialects, and is used by clinicians in 100 countries to screen patients. A more recent electronic version of the MoCA , which incorporates automatic scoring of the test, processing speed and the calculation of a new memory index score (MIS), can help clinicians and researchers determine which MCI subjects are more likely to develop Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease. LB
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