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I’ve got a

genius idea ... now what?

DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014 VOL.24 NO.5 PP100008671


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Cover Image © iStockphoto.com/MathieuViennet

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Peanut butter can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

H

ealth researchers at the University of Florida have found a quick and cheap way to test for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The only equipment necessary is a container of peanut butter and a ruler. Graduate student Jennifer Stamps came up with the idea while she was working with Dr Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology and health psychology in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology. She noticed that the patients in Dr Heilman’s clinic were not tested for their sense of smell - often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline. Stamps thought peanut butter would be ideal because it is a “pure odourant”, she said, that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access. She and her colleagues conducted a small pilot study and the results were published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. In the study, patients sat down with a clinician, 14 g of peanut butter and a ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimetre at a time until the person could detect an odour. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril. The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odour between the left and right nostril. The mean distance for the right nostril was normal at 17.4 cm, but the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 5.1 cm away. This is consistent with Alzheimer’s patients often having more degeneration in their left hemisphere than their right. Patients with other kinds of dementia, meanwhile, had either no differences in odour detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odour than the left one. And of the 24 patients who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease but sometimes does not, 10 patients showed left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The patients’ diagnoses were not usually confirmed until weeks after the clinical testing. By confirming diagnosis early, the researchers said this could “reduce disability, enhance quality of life and aid clinical trials”. Doctors could prescribe drugs to slow down the disease’s effects, and Stamps said treatment could be more aggressive to prevent the disease’s progression. The test’s quick and cheap nature makes it suitable for clinics that don’t have the resources to run more elaborate tests. Stamps said the researchers also plan to see if the test could predict Alzheimer’s in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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So you’ve got a genius idea now what? Getting your idea from your mind to the market

6

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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© iStockphoto.com/jgroup

Intellectual assets can be commercialised but the road from idea to marketplace success can be fraught. Frequently those with the original genius idea are not by nature entrepreneurial or commercially savvy - this is especially true with those from a research or academic background and turning an intellectual asset into something tradable is not a simple, straightforward process.

T

here is a ‘commercialisation chasm’ that divides the earlystage ‘proof of concept’ from the latter-stage translation of the technology to a product or service. You will need funds, time and staying power to bridge this chasm. No matter how smart you are, this is the time to call in some experts.

The six steps to commercialisation 1. Know what your product or service is and have a working prototype. 2. Assess the idea both technically and commercially. 3. Protect your intellectual property (IP). 4. Have a business plan and a commercialisation strategy. 5. Understand the business side and assess your skills to develop your product/service. 6. Have funding and explore the possibility of grants and assistance.

What is your product or service? Firstly, you need to define exactly what it is you want to commercialise. Ideally, you need to be able to explain the idea to a stranger in one paragraph. Have a working prototype.

Is the idea commercially viable? For your idea to be commercialised there must be enough customers willing to pay your asking price and this price, multiplied by the number of purchases, must cover your costs and make a profit for you. So before you start the commercialisation process you need to be sure that the market for your idea exists and that it will bear the cost of your idea. It is no good thinking you can educate potential customers into wanting what you think they should desire. The most

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successul commercialisation projects address a market need.

Protect your IP Are you the first one with this idea?  Have you conducted patent, literature or other searches? Once you are sure your ‘asset’ is yours alone you need to protect it. Your intellectual property is your asset and you need to protect it rigorously. Even in the early days as your idea is germinating and you are seeking feedback from colleagues and associations you need to protect your idea. Before you discuss the idea with anyone have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Once the idea has crystallised there are four main types of IP protection: • Patent - Patents prevent anyone else using your specific idea/innovation without your consent but they are time and country specific. To be patentable your idea must be new and not have been done before or must bring an existing item to a new stage of development and have industrial/commercial applicability. • Trade mark - A trade mark (TM) protects your ‘brand’ or ‘name’ from being used by anyone else - again seek expert advice. • Design - This protects the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colour, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation. • Copyright -The rights given to authors/creators of original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works; sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programs; the typographical arrangement of published editions; computer programs; and original databases. There is no formal registration process for a copyright.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

7


© iStockphoto.com/MathieuViennet

In Australia, the organisation IP Australia administers the IP rights system - specifically patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeders’ rights. However, be aware, IP protection is not an area for amateurs. Why risk getting this wrong - your whole business will depend on owning your asset - seek expert advice from professionals in this area.

Have a business plan and a commercialisation strategy After you have established that your idea is technically and commercially viable and you have protected your IP you will need to determine your commercialisation pathway and develop a business plan. You have several options - you can: • Start your own business venture to exploit IP. • License the protected IP to larger players for a fee. • Establish a joint venture. • Sell the protected IP.

Understand the business side and assess your skills to develop your product/service If you choose to start your own business you will have to be aware that clients are not going to knock on your door asking for your product - you are going to have to market it. And along with your marketing program you will have to be able to produce the product in a reasonable time frame and then deliver it. At the same time your fledgling business will have to meet accounting, tax, safety, local, state and federal government requirements. Your business plan will have to cover areas such as market research, a pricing and distribution strategy, financial projections, and a market entry and exit strategy. You really can’t do all of this in isolation - you need to establish strong alliances, research collaborations and commercial relationships if you want to be successful. Just having a great idea doesn’t mean that you can run a business. Be honest in

8

assessing your own skills and be prepared to pay for assistance when and where needed.

Funding, grants and assistance Most venture capital-funded enterprises are around three years old when they receive their first round of funding. You are going to need seed capital before this. There might be opportunities to seek funding and assistance from various sources: • ATP Innovations Pty Ltd is a commercialisation hub that supports emerging businesses in the life sciences, internet, ICT and electronics sectors. • AusBiotech is Australia’s industry organisation, working on behalf of members to provide representation and services to promote the global growth of Australian biotechnology. • AusIndustry is the Australian Government’s principal business program delivery division in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. • Austrade helps Australian businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, to succeed in international trade and investment. • Australia Technology Showcase is the program, supported by the NSW and Qld Governments, which identifies innovative, market-ready Australian technologies and provides support to expand them to local and international markets. • Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research facilitates the sustainable growth of Australian industries by developing a national innovation system. • Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Ltd works to ensure a favourable environment for growth in sustainable equity investment and entrepreneurship. It also provides research and facilitates networking throughout Australia.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

• Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) brings together specialist knowledge, networks and services to work with significant businesses and industry sectors in Queensland. • GrantsLINK is a directory that has information about federal, state and local government funding programs for individuals, businesses and communities. • IP Australia is an organisation which administers Australia’s IP rights system, specifically patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeders’ rights. • LESANZ is an Australian and New Zealand chapter of Licensing Executive Society, an international community of innovation and commercialisation professionals. • NSW Department of State and Regional Development is a division of the NSW Department of Industry & Investment. The division assists in building a diversified NSW state economy that creates jobs. • Queensland Wide Innovation Network (QWIN) provides Queensland small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with the opportunity to connect with other like-minded businesses and with government and private sector support providers to assist with their business growth. • South Australian Department of Trade and Economic Development is the South Australian Government’s key economic development agency. • Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Arts has a range of diverse portfolios, with broader purpose to work together to make Tasmania a prosperous, vibrant and healthy community. • Victorian Department of State Development, Business & Innovation is the Victorian Government’s lead agency for economic and regional development, and is instrumental in building an innovative state. • Western Australian Department of Commerce works with the community to ensure high standards of safety and protection for workers and consumers, and promotes and fosters innovative industries, science and enterprise.

Conclusion While the whole business of commercialisation sounds daunting, you should not let this put you off. Most of Australia’s most successful companies started with an idea.

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Rheometers The Kinexus Series from Malvern Instruments extends the strengths of the Kinexus rotational rheometer. The Kinexus Ultra+ is optimised for advanced research applications. The model has high sensitivity, achieved through its adaptive air-bearing technology plus a wide torque range. This enables measurements for even the most demanding low-torque applications, such as weakly structured and small-volume samples. The Kinexus development applications. Both systems offer dual-action capabilities

Biological safety cabinet

for both shear and vertical testing.

The Baker Steril-

Pro+ model is suitable for a wide variety of routine, research and

Designed from the ground up, the rheometer series was developed

GARD e3 Class II

to address the needs of different users. The intelligent platform means

Type A2 Biosafety

users spend less time learning how to interact with their system

Cabinet offers an

and more time investigating ways to characterise and enhance a

adaptive ergonomic

material’s performance. Adaptive intelligence allows the product to

design, combined

actively guide users at every stage: from sample preparation and

with an airflow man-

loading, through measurement set-up and operation, to data analysis

agement system

and reporting. The series is highly flexible and easy to expand, ready

and containment

for further evolution as new applications emerge.

technology, to improve comfort, increase productivity and

Features include: cartridge system and geometry interchange for

reduce the costs of ownership. 

ease of use; SOP-driven tests on a rheometer interface; complete

Designed with the operator in mind, the product is said to

sample history captured every time; vertical test capabilities that give

be the quietest cabinet available, with low heat generation and

the ability to measure more; total flexibility of control.

minimal vibration. The ReadySAFE mode allows the cabinet

ATA Scientific Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V662

to continuously operate while the screen is closed, allowing the user to maintain safe conditions while leaving for lunch, meetings or even overnight. Cleaning is made easy with a membrane-sealed control panel, a one-piece work surface and radiused, cove corners. Maintenance is also simplified with an innovative electronic controller with diagnostic LEDs, detachable side panels, frontloading filters and a reinforced overall panel design. For cost efficiency, the StediFLOW airflow management system with a self-adjusting motor technology uses less energy and extends filter life without sacrificing performance. The product is available in one person (1.2 m) and two person (1.8 m) models. Abacus ALS Australia Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V379

Ergonomic pipettes Mettler Toledo has made ergonomic design the key focus for the Rainin pipette range. The Rainin XLS+ pipettes contain both manual and electronic multichannel pipettes. With up to 28% less pipetting force, reduced weight and enhanced channel-to-channel consistency, the manual pipettes create a hand-saving pipetting experience that not only increases overall productivity but also helps reduce data inconsistency. The E4 XLS+ pipette range contains single-channel, multichannel and adjustable spacer pipettes, ensuring users can choose the pipette that will work the best for their application. The pipettes allow users to speed up their workflow as they switch easily through features and functions on the carousel-like navigation menu, giving users access to a number of different modes and options. The company also has a number of local Rainin pipetting specialists who can provide expert pipetting advice. Mettler Toledo Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U914

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Handheld Raman spectrometer Pharmaceutical manufacturers and regulatory agencies around the world can use the Thermo Scientific TruScan GP handheld Raman analyser to identify raw materials and confirm the authenticity of finished products. The product offers pharmaceutical identification capabilities for pharmaceutical manufacturers in emerging markets. The point-and-shoot unit is designed to allow more users to accurately identify inconsistencies in materials right away, saving time and money down the line in the manufacturing process as well as in the field of counterfeit screening. The analyser features a probabilistic approach to material identification and is designed to assist users to meet a wide variety of regulatory compliance needs within the chemical screening market. The user-built chemical library enables users to tailor the instrument to meet their specific screening objectives. The product is easy to operate, with its simplified workflow requiring only a few minutes of basic operating instruction. Its portable size and rapid onboard result reporting is designed for effective field-based screening. Secure connectivity to archives is designed to promote data integrity as well as automatic generation of audit trails and test reports. The instrument employs Raman spectroscopy, a laser-based analytical technique for pharmaceutical quality control, which works by detecting frequencies of light highly specific to the molecular structure of different liquids and solids. The purpose-built, streamlined, point-and-shoot device is a suitable identification solution. Thermo Fisher Scientific Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V661

Dark quencher for qPCR

Personal evaporator

A quencher for quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) that improves assay

Scitek is introducing the third generation of its Genevac EZ-2

signal quality, Onyx Quencher adds to Sigma Life Science’s portfolio

personal evaporator. It has been designed specifically for pro-

of qPCR probes, reagents and oligonucleotide services.

ductive, sample-safe solvent removal, be that concentration of

The product is a dark quencher and therefore produces heat instead

samples or complete drying. The unit is very compact while

of light on excitation. This is said to improve the signal-to-noise ratio

combining good performance, ease of use and compatibility

over traditional fluorescent quenchers, such as TAMRA.

with all commonly used solvents and acids.

Available with the company’s Custom Primers and Dual-Labeled

The capability to input up to 10 stored methods, including

Probes, four derivative versions of Onyx Quencher extinguish light over

Genevac preset standards for a wide range of applications,

an excitation maximum range from 515 to 661 nm, which includes the

makes use straightforward even for new users. It accom-

emission spectrum of common reporter dyes such as 6-FAM. Perfor-

modates many sample formats such as round-bottom flasks,

mance of all four versions has been validated with several reporter

tubes, vials, custom reaction blocks and shallow or deep-well

dyes, with all performing equivalently to a comparable dark quencher.

microplates. The unit can operate entirely unattended. Simply

In addition to qPCR, the product may be used for other applica-

set the temperature, select the method and press start. 

tions and is a suitable quencher for the development of life science

The product is fitted with an enhanced version of the com-

research tools, molecular diagnostics (MDx) and laboratory developed

pany’s SpeedTrap. The chemically resistant cold trap is designed

tests (LDTs).

to condense solvents in order to protect the environment and

Sigma Aldrich Pty Ltd

help to speed evaporation. The SpeedTrap runs at -50°C to

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V688

enable it to catch the most volatile solvents. However, it does not freeze the condensed solvent, even when working with water. Solvents collect in the insulated, plastic-coated glass vessel, enabling the user to check the progress of evaporation and determine when the trap should be emptied. Requiring no peripherals for operation, the compact unit fits neatly onto a laboratory bench or into a fume hood. Independently verified Dri-Pure technology prevents solvent bumping and sample crosscontamination. Scitek Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V387

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Enhancing DNA and oligonucleotide sample preparation

How rapid, safe evaporation can provide better data quality Rob Darrington and Ian Whitehall*

The difficulties of concentration of oligonucleotides, and especially tagged oligonucleotides, are well documented. Adverse conditions can damage the sample and, in some cases, totally degrade it. When sourcing a concentration method for their microtitre plates containing oligonucleotides (oligos), researchers at high-throughput genome analysis centres must take care to choose an evaporator system that will not only provide fast drying, but also take good care of their samples.

Concentration and microarray production At the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG) in the UK, the microarray team run a high-throughput custom microarray platform studying mouse and rat gene expression. For these experiments, total RNA is harvested from tissue or cells, amplified, labelled and hybridised onto oligo printed slides. The experiments show the differential expression between a control and the study sample. It is in preparing the oligo printed slides that a problem arises. The oligo printed slides are typically prepared using 70-mer oligos stored in over thirty 384-well plates. The 384-well plates contain oligos re-suspended in a volatile phosphate buffer; the buffer causes an unknown volume of water to evaporate during the microarray printing process. This does not affect the printing process but may affect subsequent printing, as the oligos are at a higher and unknown concentration than before. The WTCHG considered that the optimum method of ensuring a known concentration is to dry the plates between each printing run and to re-suspend the oligos to a known concentration when required. The oligo plates are stored dry in between runs.

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The centre had an elderly vacuum concentrator which could accept only two plates at a time and took up to 3 h to dry them. Therefore, it took two weeks to dry all the plates after each run. To preserve the integrity of the plates awaiting drying, these were frozen at -18°C and thawed when the concentrator was available. It is well documented that freeze thaw cycles can be detrimental to oligo quality and can cause degradation. The centre began to search for a new high-throughput concentrator which could keep up with their microarray production. The system they selected was the Genevac EZ-2 personal evaporator. The EZ-2 can take eight plates per run and dries them in just over an hour, meaning that all the plates for a microarray printing run can be dried within one day. Samples awaiting drying are kept in the fridge at 4°C, eliminating the need to freeze and preventing damage to samples. Researchers from the centre report that they have more confidence in the quality of their oligos and believe that they are of higher quality now that they have introduced state-of-the-art concentration processes. These findings support the work of Knight, who discusses the importance of correct drying for best results within MALDI target production.

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Sequenom Sample Quality analysis following air drying (left) and drying on EZ-2 evaporator (right). Key: Dark green – high sample data quality; Light green – medium sample data quality; Red – poor sample quality or no data.

Genotype

Assay 1 air drying (%)

Genotype

Assay 1 EZ-2 (%)

G

0.30

G

0.78

T

33.07

T

77.60

GT

7.03

GT

19.79

no calls

59.64

no calls

1.82

Genotype

Assay 2 air drying (%)

Genotype

Assay 2 EZ-2 (%)

G

27.60

G

44.53

T

5.99

T

8.07

GT

20.83

GT

35.68

no calls

45.57

no calls

11.72

Dual SNP analysis following air drying and drying on EZ-2 evaporator.

High-density microarray preparation Another team at the centre are studying hereditable disease by analysing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In the procedure for the detection of the disease, the genomic DNA of the individual is hybridised to the SNP array and will bind with greater frequency with the SNPs associated with that person; the array is then visualised by fluorescence. The presence of the SNPs in the genomic DNA indicates that the person is susceptible to the disease. In the identification of the disease threat, it is clearly imperative that the researcher has confidence in the quality of the array. This integrity of product is dependent on the way the detection array is synthesised and constructed. One of the key steps in this process is achieving a concentration of the cDNA in the array that will give a signal when visualising. The technique used during concentration of the sample may be damaging, contributing to inaccuracies and/or low yields. To study SNPs, high-throughput researchers operate the Sequenom MassARRAY SNP Genotyping system. MassARRAY is a high-throughput, high-fidelity system for SNP analysis within genotyping studies which performs all steps of the assay and analysis in the one system. The technology employed requires very small volumes of sample, specifically 5 µL, containing as little as 2.5 ng of material. The Sequenom system is very specific in its requirements for sample preparation. To achieve the required volume of 5 µL, some samples needed to be concentrated; this used to be achieved by air drying the samples over a number of days. Using the Genevac EZ-2 personal evaporator, these samples

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are concentrated aseptically within the hour, saving time and reducing risk of contamination. Methods using the EZ-2 evaporator were compared to the previous standard method where plates were air dried over a period of time. Plates containing identical samples were dried using each method and then analysed using the MassEXTEND reaction. The duplex pass rate for each well is represented in the traffic light diagram above, where dark green shows good data, light green mid-quality data and red shows poor or no data. The results of a 2-plex assay looking for two different SNPs within the same plate are shown in the table. The number of ‘no calls’, ie, no data, has significantly reduced on both assays. The quality of results achieved following drying on the EZ-2 evaporator are clearly better than achievable with simply air drying in this case.

Summary When working with DNA and oligo samples, great care needs to be taken at every stage to ensure that degradation does not occur and the highly potent samples are not contaminated. Use of state-of-the-art concentration systems can significantly speed up concentration rates, saving researchers time, and also eliminate potential sources of damage to samples. *Rob Darrington is Product Manager and Ian Whitehall is Sales Director of Genevac, Ipswich, UK. Scitek Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V377

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Biomolecular interaction measurement system The MicroCal iTC200 allows direct and label-free measurement of binding affinity and thermodynamic parameters from biomolecular interactions. All binding parameters (affinity, stoichiometry, enthalpy and entropy) are available in a single experiment. The product is quick to first results, with no assay development labelling or immobilisation. It has the sensitivity to investigate any biomolecular interaction using as little as 10 µg of protein. The system is suitable for a range of applications, including the characterisation of molecular interactions of small molecules, proteins, antibodies, nucleic acids, lipids and other biomolecules, enzyme kinetics, and the effects of molecular structure changes on binding mechanisms. GE Healthcare - Biosciences Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U778

Western blot system Designed for the SpectraMax i3 and Paradigm Multi-Mode Detection Platforms, the ScanLater Western Blot Detection Cartridge adds western blot detection capability to a microplate reader. This option allows researchers to do everything from protein detection via western blot to ELISAs on a single detection platform. The product is a user-installable option for the SpectraMax i3 and Paradigm Multi-Mode Platforms. Leveraging the novel technology, researchers can: add western blot detection to their microplate reader within 2

LIMS for sequencing

min; eliminate time-dependent substrate

Genologics’ Clarity Run Manager, Clarity Run Manager Plus and Clarity LIMS Silver

addition steps; maintain femtogram to pi-

are three cloud-based products from GenoLogics that provide next-generation se-

cogram protein sensitivity comparable to

quencing, sample and workflow management with flexible pricing options, including

traditional western blot methods; sustain

one free version.

blot signal stability for up to 30 days;

The product editions provide sample management and workflow tracking to support

use a single software platform SoftMax

the use of Illumina or Life Technologies sequencing instruments or other genomics

Pro Software to run both microplate and

technologies.

western blot detection assays.

The range of functionality in the three editions provides organisations with access

Bio-Strategy Pty Ltd

to flexible options that can grow with a lab, are easy to use by staff and require no

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V672

internal IT resources to configure, update or maintain. OnQ Software Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V450

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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The new Secura速 Riskless weighing in regulated areas.

Advanced Pharma Compliance means maximum operational safety and fully automatic self-monitoring in pharmaceutical laboratories. Secura速 guarantees better results with: - LevelControl for total confidence in your results: No more incorrect results from an unleveled balance - isoCAL: Internal fully automatic calibration and adjustment function with configurable action level - SQmin: Active monitoring of the USP minimum sample weight requirement Secura速 guarantees compliance with documentation requirements through: - Cal Audit Trail - GLP-compliant print-out - Password protection for setup settings Sartorius Australia Phone: 03 8762 1800/1800 645 076 info.australia@sartorius.com

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CASE STUDY

Creating a more efficient lab management process for better customer services Townsville Laboratory Services is composed of a chemical laboratory and a microbiological laboratory which analyse samples for open waters, treated drinking water, trade waste, sewage and other environmental samples. The lab services a range of organisations throughout Queensland, including local government shires and councils, hospitals, universities and schools. Townsville City Council was keen to implement a laboratory information management system (LIMS) to create a more efficient process and better customer services. Its aims were to improve data quality, reduce time of manual data entry from instrumentation, reduce data transcription errors and improve business efficiency. It sought the following in a LIMS: • Job and sample registration and tracking • Integration of laboratory instruments • Generation of reports and certificate of analysis • Audit trails to satisfy NATA • Result authorisation • Ease of searching data • Production of quality control charts • Linking of invoices to the council’s finance system Laboratory coordinator Edgar Salvador chose Lims1 for the lab’s solution. The system was flexible, met all predefined needs and proved to be easy to configure and learn. It was also already installed in most other council laboratories on the east coast. Lims1 Product Consultant Amanda Orphanides said, “When we first started talking with Edgar … it became apparent that their main need was to streamline the process of sample tracking in the laboratory.” Lims1 Project Manager Ian Forwood added that the lab “had some quite specific needs” and the company “used the flexibility of the system to deliver on those”. The implementation process first confirmed customer requirements and resources, before a schedule was developed in collaboration with the client. Forwood noted, “Mapping out all needs and detailed processes at the start are absolute key for a successful outcome at the end.” Next, a pilot database was built to reflect workflows and processes. Once the software and pilot database were installed they were tested; run by the client in parallel to the current system. Once testing was completed, the remainder of the configuration data was added, followed by the historic data. The LIMS project moved to production and went live. Lims1 continues to follow up on the project and exchange feedback on an ongoing basis. The results have been positive, with Salvador saying, “The efficiency gains are showing [their] effect in the lab’s turnaround time and better job allocation for the lab teams.” The staff can focus on quality chemistry rather than administration tasks and there is a decrease in manual data entry errors due to integration of instrumentation with Lims1. Overall, it means the business has been able to grow. “Lims1 is one of the lab’s best investments and is fast becoming a productivity tool,” concluded Salvador. LTech Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V391

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Surface area and porosity system The Micromeritics TriStar II Plus is a fully automated, three-station surface area and porosity analyser intended for laboratories that require the combination of high throughput and high-quality data. Suited for quality control and research environments, the product can collect up to 1000 data points. Fine details of the isotherm can be observed and recorded, providing high resolution and revealing pore structure details. The unit contains all the capabilities of the TriStar II with additional hardware and software features. A dewar design and isothermal jacket technology provide many extended hours of continuous temperature control. A stainless steel manifold is corrosion-resistant and designed for highly accurate gas management. A dedicated saturation pressure port allows the measurement of saturation pressure on a continuous basis. The three analysis ports operate simultaneously and independently of one another. A krypton option allows precise measurements in the very low surface area range. A dashboard monitors and provides access to real-time instrument performance indicators and maintenance scheduling information. MicroActive software gives the user the ability to interactively evaluate isotherm data and reduce the time required to obtain surface area and porosity results. Interaction with adsorption data is direct. By moving the calculation bars, the user is immediately updated with new textural properties. User-selectable data ranges through the graphic interface allow direct modelling for BET, t-Plot, Langmuir, DFT interpretation and more. Included is an improved ability to overlay files (up to 25), including mercury intrusion data with a single-click file add and subtract feature. A Report Options editor allows the user to define up to five reports with on-screen previews. Python scripting language allows users to develop extensions to the standard report library available within the software application. The instrument also utilises the multi-adsorbate integral equation (Dual DFT) for micropore analyses of carbons. Particle & Surface Sciences Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U298

pH • EC • DO

• 0 footprint • 0.5 inch thick • 250 grams • 5.5 inch display • 8 hour battery life Tel: 03 9769 0666 Fax: 03 9769 0699 Email: sales@hannainst.com.au Web: www.hannainst.com.au

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19


Genes, male beauty and attractiveness to the other gender It’s a simple fact: some individuals are more attractive to the opposite sex than others. But what makes them more desirable?

G

eneticists have long puzzled over why individuals of the same sex show a greater or lesser degree of sexual attractiveness. In other words - why are some people better looking than others when they’re genetically similar? Professor Judith Mank, from University College London’s Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment, has been looking at male wild turkeys to find the answer - and it turns out that the essence of male beauty is down to the way males use their genes rather than what genes they have. Mank and her team have found that among turkeys that are brothers (and therefore share the majority of their genes), ‘dominant’ males show higher expression of genes predominantly found in males, and a lower expression of genes predominantly found in females, than their subordinate brothers. Therefore, dominant males were both masculinised and defeminised in terms of their gene expression. A male’s attractiveness is a function of how they express their genes, rather than the genes themselves. Mank explained, “Sexual attractiveness varies markedly between individuals of the same sex. These differences can have a significant impact on how successful an individual is with the opposite sex.

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“Here, we have shown that male beauty is a result of how you use your genes, rather than the difference in the genes themselves. “Even though humans don’t have clear dominant and subordinate types, they do exhibit a range of sexual dimorphisms - some individuals are more attractive to the opposite sex than others.” Male wild turkeys come in two kinds: dominant males have exaggerated sexually attractive traits while subordinate males are less ornate. Whether a male is dominant or subordinate is determined the winter before they reach sexual maturity, when brothers come together and battle for dominance. The ‘winner’ adopts the dominant form, while the other brothers become subordinate - assisting their brother in mating but not siring offspring themselves. Scientists are still unsure of the process by which some male turkeys become dominant or submissive but suspect that the concentration of male hormones, or androgens, may play a role in gene expression. Professor Mank further added: “We expect to find a similar effect in females, in that more attractive females may show a higher expression of genes predominantly found in females and lower expression of male genes.” The study has been published in a recent edition of the journal PLoS Genetics.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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LC-MS system The Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Fusion Tribrid LC-MS system enables users to quickly and positively identify large numbers of low-abundance proteins. Its architecture enables simultaneous precursor isolation, fragmentation and data acquisition in both the Orbitrap and linear ion trap mass analysers. Attributes include: a quadrupole for precursor selection at isolation widths down to 0.4 amu for good sensitivity and selectivity, an ultrahigh-field Orbitrap offering resolution in excess of 450,000 and scan rates up to 15 Hz for good selectivity and speed

Submicron particle size and zeta potential analyser

of analysis.

The NanoPlus uses photon correlation spectroscopy and electrophoretic light-scattering tech-

An ion routing multipole, followed by

niques to determine particle size and zeta potential. The instrument can measure the particle

dual-pressure linear ion trap, provides

size of samples suspended in liquids in the range of 0.6 nm to 10 µm with sample suspension

MSn HCD, CID and ETD fragmentations

concentrations from 0.00001 to 40%. It also has the ability to measure the zeta potential of

and fast, sensitive mass analysis with

sample suspensions in the -200 to +200 mV range with concentrations from 0.001 to 40%.

scan rates of up to 20 Hz. Synchronous

The product is compact and easy to use, with intuitive software and multiple sample

precursor selection enhances the instru-

cells to fit the user’s application. It is available in three model configurations: NanoPlus-1 (a

ment’s signal-to-noise performance.

nanoparticle-sizing instrument); NanoPlus-2 (a zeta potential instrument); and NanoPlus-3 (a

Thermo Fisher Scientific Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V136

combination nanoparticle-sizing and zeta-potential instrument). Particle & Surface Sciences Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/Q750

Portable contamination analysis kit The Patch Test Kit (or Portable Contamination Analysis Kit) is a tool for identifying and monitoring the types and levels of particulate contamination in all fluid power systems, including those offshore where water-based fluids are utilised.  The contents of the kit are packaged in a heavy-duty, padded, waterproof case on rollers for safe and easy manoeuvrability. The kit includes: binocular microscope; stainless steel blunt forceps; petri-slides; mixed cellulose ester hydrophilic test membranes; nickel-plated steel pressure spray can; 240 V vacuum pump; vacuum hoses with associated connectors; 240 VAC power cables; and more. Depending on the experience and training of the operator, the kit can be used for contaminant identification, component analysis, determining oil filterability and to conduct wear debris analysis. HYDAC International Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V518

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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2014 Catalogue NOW AVAILABLE Simply email Labtek . . .

marketing@labtek.com.au or visit our website . . .

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Biomolecular interaction analysis system The Biacore T200 is a versatile, label-free system for detailed studies of biomolecular interactions, from early research to drug discovery and development and on to QC. The system delivers high-quality kinetic, affinity, concentration, specificity, selectivity and thermodynamic interaction data - in real time with very high sensitivity. Interactions characterised by on- and off-rates at the extremities of the kinetic scale can be analysed with great precision and confidence. The product can also analyse interactions involving small low molecular weight (LMW) compounds and process up to 384 samples in unattended runs. GE Healthcare - Biosciences Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U776

• 10,665 products across 370 plus pages. • Over 1,900 new products. • Easy to use product descriptions with colour images. • Labco product range - giving you choice and savings. • Fully priced, order straight from the catalogue.

Digital microscope cameras The ProgRes CMOS (3 or 5 MP) and CCD (3, 5 or 7 MP) cameras from Jenoptik are suitable for all contrast methods in light microscopy and can be easily integrated via C-Mount and USB 2.0/ FireWire interfaces. Good colour reproduction means they can be used for image analysis and reliable image documentation in microscopic and

• This catalogue is an essential item for every laboratory.

P. 1300 881 318 F. 1300 881 513 E. sales@labtek.com.au W. www.labtek.com.au

Environmentally Conscious: Labtek is committed to minimising our environmental impact. Labtek’s marketing, including this catalogue, is produced on FSC certified paper from responsible sources. You can learn more by visiting www.fsc.org.

macroscopic working environments. High frame rates provide fast live images, offering easy workflow and ease of use. Colour or monochrome versions are available. SciTech Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V710

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ISO 9001:2008

Printed in Australia

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

23


CASE STUDY

Differentiating between real and fake gold In the world of pawnbroking, the difference between real and fake gold - or plated versus solid - could mean a difference of hundreds of dollars per transaction and thousands per year. Pawnbrokers must look for accurate, safe and fast methods to determine the value and authenticity of pawn items. Thermo Scientific portable precious metal analysers have received the endorsement of Hardcore Pawn’s Seth Gold who, with his family, manages the store American Jewelry and Loan. He was recently named the 2013 National Pawnbrokers Association’s Pawnbroker of the Year. Gold recommends the Thermo Scientific Niton DXL precious metal analyser and Thermo Scientific Niton XL2 series XRF analyser for use in determining the elemental composition of metals with precision. The analysers identify elements using X-ray fluorescence (XRF), an analytical technique that measures the emission of secondary X-rays from a material/sample that has been illuminated with X-rays. “Verifying the elemental composition of precious metals that come into my store is one of my greatest challenges - and I believe all pawnbrokers should consider XRF for metals identification,” said Gold, a fourth-generation pawnbroker. “The Niton DXL and Niton XL2 enable our team to quickly and easily evaluate all silver, gold and platinum items.” Thermo Fisher, an expert in handheld X-ray fluorescence technology, engineered the instruments to provide non-destructive, definitive and safe verification of the elemental composition of precious metals in seconds; and they offer intuitive touch-screen operation, making analysis easily accessible to non-technical users. “We specifically designed the Niton DXL to meet the elemental analysis needs of the jewellery resale and pawn market,” said Jon Culbertson, director of business development, portable analytical instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We also believe that all pawnbrokers should consider XRF use for metals analysis, since it limits the chance of misidentification.” Thermo Fisher Scientific Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V656

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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© iStockphoto.com/terrymorris

Equip your lab for less 3D print your equipment A solution to procuring lab equipment is at hand for cash-strapped scientists. Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs by Joshua Pearce and published by Elsevier is a step-by-step ‘do-it-yourself’ guide for making lab equipment.

T

he essential tools are a 3D printer, open-source software and free digital designs. “It’s a guidebook for new faculty members setting up labs,” according to Pearce. “With it, they can cut the cost by a factor of 10, or even 100 for research-grade equipment. Even in the classroom, we can do a $15,000 educational lab for $500.” In keeping with the open-source concept, parts of the book will be freely available at different times on the Elsevier Store. Chapters one and two are currently available. Pearce, an associate professor at Michigan Technological University, began printing out lab equipment in earnest after a seminal moment, when he priced a lab jack at $1000. “All it does is move things up and down,” he said. Using a printer and open-source software, his team made a utilitarian replica for about five dollars. Pearce hasn’t looked back. On his desk is a dual-purpose gadget: it can measure water turbidity, like a nephelometer; and it can do chemical analysis based on colour, like a colorimeter. “We’ve shoved two devices into one, and it’s completely customisable,” said Pearce. To buy them both with equivalent accuracy would have cost over $4000. To make this hybrid on a 3D printer cost about $50 including the cost of an open-source microcontroller, sensors and LEDs. Saving money is just the half of it. “This lets faculty have total control over their laboratory,” he said. Because designs are fluid, “devices can evolve with your lab rather than become obsolete.” The technology goes beyond slashing costs; it can also result in better science, says Pearce. Replicating another researcher’s

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work becomes much easier and cheaper. “Equipment designs can be shared as easily as recipes,” he said. “Scientists from all over the world are contributing designs.” And it may change the dynamic of graduate education. “We get a huge influx of students from China, India and Africa, in part because they have so few good labs,” Pearce said. “If they could print their own equipment, they wouldn’t have to leave their home to study unless they wanted to, and many more talented people could contribute to experimental science. We could have a truly global scientific community.” But for Pearce, perhaps the best thing about open-source 3D printing is the open-source part. Makers, as 3D printer aficionados are called, not only use designs posted on the internet. They also post their own and provide feedback. “It creates positive scientific karma,” he said. “You can share your ideas and get help from the community, and it speeds things up so much. It’s like having a global R&D team dedicated to your work.” “Open-Source Lab is written for a wide audience, from novices to those who are “at one with the force of open source”, who can skip the introductory material and get right to work printing their own equipment. At the close of the Acknowledgements section, Pearce cautions the reader not to rely too heavily on existing designs. The whole point of open-source printing is to join the community and share, share, share. “If the hardware is not good enough for you or your lab, remember, it is free, so quit whining and make it better!”

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Tissue homogeniser range The Precellys range of homogenisers is based on bead-beating technology. They are

Bench pH meter

designed to homogenise, lyse or grind tissue as hard as bone and as soft as brain in

HI 2211 is a versatile benchtop meter

just seconds for subsequent efficient and improved extraction of DNA, RNA, protein,

for the measurement of pH and mV

drugs or live cells (eg, bacteria or viruses from soil or tissue).

(ORP and ISE).

The 3D figure-8 bead-beating technology, along with ready-to-use lysing tubes

The meter is simple to operate, with

pre-filled with the optimal type and size of beads for the user’s sample type, max-

automatic 1- or 2-point calibration and

imises efficiency and minimises processing time. The lysing kits (0.5, 2 and 7 mL)

user-selectable temperature compensa-

can handle 1 mg to 2 g of tissue, are certified DNase/RNase free and ensure no

tion - manual or automatic with the HI

cross-contamination.

7662 temperature probe. The meter is

A vacuum-based tube holder ensures safety, so there is no need for

equipped with an easy-to-read LCD

screws. Lid, vacuum, speed and temperature alarms are in place to

which shows both the primary reading

prevent failure. Metal parts and high-quality components ensure

and °C simultaneously.

minimal maintenance requirements.

The instrument also features a reading

Choosing the right lysing kit and protocol (homogenisation

stability indicator used during calibration,

speed and cycle length) is easy with 70+ application notes, 1000+

a measurement memory/memory recall

protocols and 2000+ publications available. Available equipment

function and a calibration expiration

includes Precellys 24  (24x 0.5/2 mL, speed of 4000 to 6800

reminder. The product is supplied with

rpm), Precellys 24-Dual (12x 0.5/2 mL or 6x 7 mL, speed of

the HI 1332B glass pH electrode, HI

4000 to 6500 rpm) and Minilys (personal homogeniser) 3x

7662 temperature probe and integrated

0.5/2 mL or 1x 7 mL, speed of 3000, 4000 or 5000 rpm.

electrode holder.

Cryolys is an optional cooling unit compatible with

Hanna Instruments Pty Ltd

Precellys 24 and Precellys 24-Dual. It circulates cooled air

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U916

into the sample chamber maintaining it as low as -20°C. Sapphire Bioscience Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V484

High-temperature vibration monitor Dytran Instruments has introduced the model 3443C, a triaxial, charge-mode vibration monitoring system weighing 10 g. Suitable for use in a variety of vibration monitoring applications including engine vibration studies, exhaust system analysis and industrial vibration monitoring, the high-temperature accelerometer is capable of operating under extreme temperatures while at the same time providing the reliability, durability and accuracy that is offered with standard laboratory sensors. Capable of operating at temperatures up to 500°C, the device features ceramic shear sensing elements mounted in a hermetically sealed, lightweight titanium housing. Units utilise two through holes for mounting and three 10-32 radial connectors. Metromatics Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V686

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Wireless humidity and temperature data loggers Vaisala Humicap Wireless Humidity and Temperature Data Loggers HMT140 are designed for humidity, temperature and analog signal monitoring in warehouses, cleanrooms, laboratories and many other life science applications. The data loggers are equipped with onboard power, memory, stable sensors and a Wi-Fi transmitter to make device placement and chamber relocation simple, easy and cost-efficient. Using Wi-Fi connectivity, the product can usually connect to the user’s existing wireless infrastructure. The battery-powered logger can operate for 18 months continuously or longer if using the batteries only as backup to the optional external power source. The logger’s enclosure is optimised for use in cleanrooms. The smooth surface of the enclosure makes it easy to clean and the enclosure material is chosen to tolerate purifying agents. The data logger is wall-mountable with fixed or remote probes. Used in conjunction with the Vaisala Continuous Monitoring System, the data logger provides a simple, secure solution for temperature and humidity recording in FDA/GxP-regulated environments. Vaisala Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U745

Target enrichment for next-generation sequencing systems Agilent Technologies has introduced a SureSelect target enrichment product that allows Ion Proton users to realise the full power of their next-generation sequencers with human exome and custom DNA target enrichment solutions. SureSelect target enrichment is now available for all major sequencing platforms, enabling researchers to achieve high-performance target

Water Baths

enrichment results with a variety of sequencers.

Anaerobic Chambers

Already used extensively with high-throughput and desktop sequencers, the products yield high sensitivity and specificity with a fast, easy workflow, generating

Ultra-low Storage

sequencer-ready samples in only 1.5 days. Other distinctive features include highly uniform sequencing coverage, with more than 99% SNP concordance rates. The product’s flexibility also enables researchers to easily create custom panels spe-

Shaking Incubators

SureDesign, Agilent’s user-friendly online design software. The SureSelect Human All Exon V5 human exome kit is now availusing the SureSelect TE Reagent

• Available in flexible or rigid versions • Automatic vacuum airlock • Minimal gas consumption Call 1800 210 805 today and speak to our friendly staff who will help you find the perfect option for your research.

cific to their targets of interest with

able for Ion Proton researchers

COY Anaerobic Chambers have been used for over 30 years in critical anaerobic research labs and clinical diagnostic labs.

Wireless Monitoring

Bioline also offers an extensive range of quality equipment for all types of laboratories.

Kit for Ion Proton. Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V570

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visit www.biolineglobal.com.au for more information WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

27


Automated fuel cells The Automated Fuel Cells system by Elettronica Veneta is a suitable teaching model to demonstrate the application of low-power fuel cells in the production of electric power for general use and of thermal energy for convector heating of rooms. The system includes one stack consisting of cells connected in series; cells type PEMFC (polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell); hydrogen feeding and exhaust line with flow detection; air inlet/cooling fan with speed control; connection of electric loads for system analysis; measurement and display of system variables via PC and data acquisition board. The training program covers electrical-chemical power conversion; efficiency of fuel cells; structure of fuel cells; measurement of characteristic curves; power/efficiency ratio; correlation between the operational parameters of fuel cells; system analysis with different electrical loads and response to load variations; analysis of the thermal energy coming from the cell cooling; acquisition and recording of system parameters. Duff & Macintosh Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/U233

Pressure gauges Fluke has introduced its 14 latest 700G series precision pressure test gauges. Instrument, process and plant maintenance technicians can customise the gauge to meet their specific pressure calibration requirements. The gauges feature pressure measurements ranging from 10 inH20 to 10,000 psi and 0.05% accuracy with absolute pressure measurement ranges and reference class accuracy gauges with reading accuracies of 0.04% of reading. The gauges can be combined with the Fluke 700PTPK or 700HTPK pump kits for complete pressure testing solutions of up to 600 psi with the PTP-1 pneumatic pump and up to 10,000 psi with the HTP-2 hydraulic pump. Fluke Networks Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V814

Dangerous goods storage cabinets Optimum Handling Solutions has a comprehensive range of dangerous goods storage cabinets specially designed to assist users in the safe and compliant storage of all hazardous material and substances, whether storing flammable, toxic or corrosive liquids. The dangerous goods cabinets are manufactured in Australia and built to Australian standards. The company’s internal dangerous goods storage cabinets provide an indoor storage solution for smaller bottles and drums with capacities from 30 to 850 L. The cabinets have adjustable internal shelving and gas strut-assisted locking doors. The range of outdoor relocatable dangerous goods stores provides a user-friendly and space-efficient solution to all industry types where higher storage volumes of 205 L drums or IBCs are required without the problems associated with building fixed stores. With capacities ranging from 820 to 26,000 L, the units provide a safe solution. Optimum Handling Solutions Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V560

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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Why beer bubbles over Finally, some important physics - researchers have worked out why if you tap the bottom of a newly opened beer bottle it froths up and foams everywhere.

T

his insight into the science behind foaming beer bottles was acquired by researchers from Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert, France who presented their explanation based on the phenomenon of cavitation at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics. Cavitation is the mechanism by which bubbles appear in a liquid such as beer after an impact, said Javier Rodriguez-Rodriguez. After a sudden impact against a bottle’s mouth, back and forth movement of compression and expansion waves will cause bubbles to appear and quickly collapse. The team’s investigation of beer bottle-fluid interactions demonstrated that the cavitation-induced break-up of larger ‘mother’ bubbles creates clouds of very small carbonic gas ‘daughter bubbles’ which grow and expand much faster than the larger mother

bubbles from which they split. The rapid expansion of these daughter bubbles gives the foam buoyancy. “Buoyancy leads to the formation of plumes full of bubbles, whose shape resembles very much the mushrooms seen after powerful explosions,” RodriguezRodriguez explained. “And here is what really makes the formation of foam so explosive: the larger the bubbles get, the faster they rise, and the other way around.” This is because fast-moving bubbles entrain more carbonic gas. The team’s work is believed to be the first quantitative analysis of the beer bottle foam-over. “We wanted to explain the extremely high efficiency of the degasification process that occurs in a beer bottle within the first few seconds after the impact,” Rodriguez said. Beyond happy-hour enrichment, the study’s findings can be applied to other engineering systems and serious natural phenomena such as the sudden release of dissolved carbon dioxide in the Lake Nyos disaster.

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

29


Tray ranges As part of the extensive collection of general-purpose labware manufactured by Kartell, there is a series of tray types in a wide range of sizes available to suit most laboratory applications. High Impact PS Trays cover 15 different trays available in sizes ranging from small (151 x 201 x 21 mm) right up to large, deep

B-700 Series

trays (299 x 408 x 81 mm). The versatile trays are designed to be used in all laboratory situations and are suitable for storing pipettes, wash bottles, sample jars, beakers, etc. PVC Input Trays are available with five or 12 compartments.

NEW

They are a useful storage device for all small laboratory supplies, including stirrer bars, hose connectors, storage bottles, and small beakers and flasks. The five-compartment tray can also be used to store pipettes. It measures 303 x 403 x 63 mm, while the 12-compartment tray is 304 x 404 x 64 mm. Deep HDPE Trays are stackable trays available in three sizes 10, 16 and 20 L - and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Made from HDPE and featuring carry handles and reinforcing ribs, the trays have a high resistance to alcohols, alkalis and both diluted

Waterproof pocket-size meter

and concentrated acids. PVC Deep Trays are stackable trays which are suitable for a variety of purposes. The specially designed ribbed base makes the trays suitable for photography purposes. There are eight differentsized trays available, in sizes ranging from 150 x 200 x 45 mm up to 420 x 540 x 180 mm. Sieper & Co Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V693

pH, conductivity, ions and salt Simple accurate and reliable Small samples typically one drop

Pathology centrifuge The pathology centrifuge from Pacific Laboratory Products is suitable for clinical chemistry, specimen reception and blood collection centres. The product features an intuitive microprocessor control panel;

Uses innovative flat sensor technology Calibrate and measure at the touch of a button Light, easy to clean and waterproof

a stainless steel, swing-out rotor; a brushless induction-drive motor; a safety lid-lock mechanism; stainless steel reinforced housing; and an automatic lid-opening system. The product is easy to use and to clean. It has a smooth cycle, quiet operation and professional-looking presentation. It also features an alarm system

Australian Scientific Pty Ltd Tel: 1800 021 083 PO Box 335 Fax: 02 4956 2525 Kotara, NSW 2289 Email: horiba@austscientific.com.au www.austscientific.com.au

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

for when the cycle is complete. Pacific Laboratory Products Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/V440

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The seaside town of Lorne, less than two hours’ drive from Melbourne, will soon host its traditional series of life sciences conferences. The Mantra Lorne offers beachfront accommodation surrounded by 12 acres of landscaped gardens, making it an ideal setting for the two-week conference series.

19th Lorne Proteomics Symposium

Invited speakers for the 19th Lorne Proteomics Symposium A/Prof Maxey Chung

Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Prof Jens R Coorssen

University of Western Sydney, NSW

A/Prof Anne-Claude Gingras

Centre for Systems Biology, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada

Prof Donald Hunt

Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, USA

Prof Helmut Meyer

Ruhr-University, Germany

Prof Albert Sickmann

Department of Proteomics, Institute for Analytical Sciences, Dortmund, Germany

Prof Dr Kai Stühler

Molecular Proteomics Laboratory, Henrich Heine University Dusseldorf, Germany

Prof Dr Marius Üeffing

Centre for Ophthalmology, University of Tübingen, Germany

6-9 February 2014 Mantra Lorne Registration and more information: www.australasianproteomics.org  The 19th Lorne Proteomics Symposium will present the latest developments in proteomics technologies. Internationally recognised speakers will focus on themes that span not only core technologies in proteomic chemistry, but also tools for the interpretation of proteomics output that allow researchers to answer fundamental questions in biology. The program is focused around topics such as the following: • Interactome research • Vesicle proteomics • Post-translational modifications • Clinical proteomics • Emerging technologies

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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© stock.xchng/profile/gdt

Lorne conference season 2014


39th Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function 9-13 February 2014 Mantra Lorne Registration and more information: www.lorneproteins.org The goal of this meeting is to highlight leading-edge protein science, irrespective of its focus. The meeting includes oral and poster presentation sessions, a young investigator session, trade workshops, social events and trade displays.

26th Lorne Cancer Conference 13-15 February 2014 Mantra Lorne Registration and more information: www.lornecancer.org The Lorne Cancer Conference features strong international and national scientific content. Delegates from many major hospitals, universities, research institutes and biotechnology companies will be attending.

Confirmed speakers for the 2014 Cancer Conference

Confirmed speakers for the 2014 Protein Structure and Function Conference

Dr Mina Bissell

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA

Dr Lisa Coussens

Oregon Health & Science University, USA

Dr Hugues de Thé

Université Paris Diderot-Paris, France

Prof Judy Campisi

University of California, Berkeley, USA

Dr Jason Carroll

Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, UK

Dr Catriona Jamieson

UCSD Moores Cancer Center, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, USA

Prof Rene Medema

The Netherlands Cancer Institute

Prof Sean Morrison

UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA

Prof Emmanuelle Passegue

University of California, San Francisco, USA

Prof Marisol Soengas

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre

Prof Xiaodong Wang

National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, China

Prof Valerie Weaver

University of California, San Francisco, USA

Prof Warren Alexander

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Vic

Dr Theresa Hicket

Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, WA

Hagan Bayley

University of Oxford, UK

Tom Muir

Princeton University, USA

Dieter Söll

Yale University, USA

Anne Dell

Imperial College, UK

Dr Steven Lane

Hidde Ploegh

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, USA

QIMR Berghofr Medical Research Institute, Qld

Dr Roberta Mazzieri

University of Queensland, Qld

Jan Löwe

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK

A/Prof Louise Purton

Aimee Shen

University of Vermont, USA

St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Vic

Anne-Claude Gingras

Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada

Prof John Rasko

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW

Virginia Cornish

Columbia University, USA

Dr Wendy Erber

University of Western Australia, WA

Jennifer Cochran

Stanford University, USA

Andrej Sali

University of California, San Francisco, USA

Sarah Teichmann

EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, UK

Ivan Dikic

Goethe University, Germany

Sharon Tooze

London Research Institute, UK

Felix Rey

Institut Pasteur, France

Hong Zhou

University of California, Los Angeles, USA

JoAnne Stubbe

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Adam Perriman

University of Bristol, UK

Petra Fromme

Arizona State University, USA

Mark Wallace

University of Oxford, UK

Ashley Buckle

Monash University, Vic

Megan Maher

La Trobe University, Vic

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

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26th Lorne Genome Conference

26th Infection & Immunity Conference 2014

16-18 February 2014

19-21 February 2014

Mantra Lorne

Mantra Lorne

Registration and more information: www.lornegenome.org

Registration and more information: www.lorneinfectionimmunity.org

Themes for the 2014 conference include: • Chromatin Structure • Epigenetics and • Chromosome Structure Epigenomics and Dynamics • Nuclear Organisation • Comparative Genomics • Population Genetics and and Evolution Genomics • Computational Biology • Regulation of Gene • Developmental Genetics Expression • Disease Genetics and • RNA Regulation Medical Genomics • Systems Biology • Emerging Technologies • Transcriptional Networks

Themes of the 2014 conference include: • Pathogenesis of Infection • Clinical/Translational • Innate Immunity Research • Adaptive Immunity • Inflammatory Diseases • Systems Biology • Microbiota and Immunity • Emerging Infectious • Vaccines Diseases

Bonnie Bassler

Princeton University, USA

Tony Cunningham

Westmead Millennium Institute, NSW

Brett Finlay

University of British Columbia, Canada

Dale Godfrey

University of Melbourne, Vic

Michael Gale

University of Washington, USA

Alan Cowman

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Vic

David Russell

Cornell University, USA

Tania Sorrell

University of Sydney, NSW

Facundo Batista

London Research Institute, UK

Jonathan Iredell

University of Sydney, NSW

Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti

St Jude Children's Research Hospital, USA

Suresh Mahalingam

Griffith University, Qld

David Reddy

Medicines for Malaria Venture, Switzerland

Kathy Belov

University of Sydney, NSW

Pilar Blancafort

University of Western Australia, WA

Alex Loukas

James Cook University, Qld 

Christine Disteche

University of Washington, USA

Adolfo Garcia-Sastre

Mount Sinai, USA

Joseph Ecker

Salk Institute, USA

Phil Hansbro

University of Newcastle, NSW

Anja Groth

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Edward Holmes

University of Sydney, NSW

Matthias Hentze

EMBL/Heidelberg University, Germany

John Lis

Cornell University, USA

Karla Neugebauer

Yale University, USA

Jose Polo

CRA, Monash University, Vic

Bing Ren

University of California, USA

Guoliang Xu

Chinese Acadamy of Sciences

Wendy Bickmore

University of Edinburgh, UK

Matthew Brown

University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Qld

Sally Dunwoodie

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, NSW

Anne Ephrussi

EMBL, Germany

Nathaniel Heintz

Rockefeller, USA

Henrik Kaessman

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Elaine Mardis

Washington University, USA

Hilda Pickett

Children’s Medical Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW

John Rasko

Royal Price Alfred Hospital, University of Sydney, NSW

Helle Ulrich

University of Mainz, Germany

www.LabOnline.com.au

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

© iStockphoto.com/Sergey Volkov

Confirmed speakers for the 2014 Genome Conference

Confirmed speakers for the 2014 Infection & Immunity Conference

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my lab 34

Liver cells under the microscope By Lauren Davis The purpose of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM), located at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), is to promote, support and initiate research and teaching in the applications of microscopy and microanalysis. Appropriately, the centre is now home to Australia’s first in-situ sectioning electron microscope. CMM Director Professor John Drennan explained that the equipment, worth over $1 million, “was purchased through a university internal competitive scheme, designed to allow researchers to purchase important infrastructure that can be made available to a wide range of users”. It consists of a field emission scanning electron microscope, produced by Zeiss, attached to a Gatan 3View system which includes a diamond microtome knife placed in the sample area. “The microtome slices and the newly formed surface is imaged by the microscope,” Professor Drennan said. All the scans are collated and a detailed 3D image is built up. The slices can be as small as 60 nm thick, which means the equipment could make 666 slices to cut through an average human hair with a thickness of 40,000 nm. The equipment has allowed for the publication of a research paper in the journal Current Biology. A group comprising CMM Deputy Director and Institute for Molecular Bioscience lab head Professor Rob Parton, postdoctoral fellow Dr Nicholas Ariotti and University of Barcelona’s Dr Albert Pol used the microscope to view the internal structure of - and interaction between - liver cells. Professor Parton explained that not all cells are the same. If some cells carry too many lipids (molecules which store fat as energy), they die, while other cells can help the population by taking up large amounts of lipids. The mechanism causing the cells to differ is particularly noticeable in the liver, which Professor Parton says is “a protective social organisation to reduce damage to the liver”. The 3D images generated from the equipment allowed the researchers to see this social organisation, Professor Parton said, and has helped them to understand the importance of cell variation. The equipment has been used in several other biological and non-biological applications as well, with Professor Drennan saying it is suitable for any materials “that are amenable to be sliced in this way”. “For example, preliminary results from paint fragments taken from artists’ works have the potential to provide a unique three-dimensional view of the processes that are taking place as the work ages. This information is invaluable for conservators who are always looking to find ways of monitoring and preserving important art works.” The CMM has always provided students and staff with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, said Professor Drennan, and the latest acquisition is attracting plenty of attention. Not only are the university’s researchers becoming skilled at using the equipment, but interstate scientists are coming for training as well. “This new instrument is of interest to a wide range of researchers,” Professor Drennan concluded.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - December 2013/January 2014

www.LabOnline.com.au


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What’s New in LAB & Life Sciences Dec 2013/Jan 2014