Innovative, Automated and Simpler Sample Prep
Researchers want more of everything in the multitude of lab systems they employ for sample prep—throughput, ease-of-use, accuracy and speed are just a few.
Sample preparation continues to be the largest bottleneck in the modern research lab. Most sample prep operations are still non-automated and require a substantial number of personnel for labor-intensive and time-consuming operations leading up to analytical measurements. As a result, equipment and instrumentation developers are dedicating a large portion of their new product development work to improving the systems used in these processes. This is important because sample prep is used by more researchers than any other process, as well as being the process with the widest range of utilized equipment.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/06/innovative-automated-and-simpler-sample-prep
Study of Eyes Sheds Light on Nervous System
The circuitry of the central nervous system is immensely complex and, as a result, sometimes confounding. When scientists conduct research to unravel the inner workings at a cellular level, they are sometimes surprised by what they find.
Patrick Keeley, a postdoctoral scholar in Benjamin Reese’s laboratory at UC Santa Barbara’s Neuroscience Research Institute, had such an experience. He spent years analyzing different cell types in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue lining the inner surface of the eye that mediates the first stages of visual processing.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/study-eyes-sheds-light-nervous-system
Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have developed a technique to control populations of the Australian sheep blowfly – a major livestock pest in Australia and New Zealand – by making female flies dependent upon a common antibiotic to survive.
Max Scott, professor of entomology at NC State, and his research team genetically modified lines of female Australian sheep blowflies (Lucilia cuprina) so that they required doses of tetracycline in order to live. Female blowflies that did not receive the antibiotic died in the late larval or pupal stages, before reaching adulthood. Several genetically modified lines lacking tetracycline showed 100 percent female deaths.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/researchers-develop-genetic-control-mechanism-blowflies
Humans, Monkeys of One Mind When It Comes to Changing It
Covert changes of mind can be discovered by tracking neural activity when subjects make decisions, researchers from New York Univ. and Stanford Univ. have found. Their results, which appear in the journal Current Biology, offer new insights into how we make decisions and point to innovative ways to study this process in the future.
“The methods used in this study allowed us to see the idiosyncratic nature of decision making that was inaccessible before,” explains Roozbeh Kiani, an assistant professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and the study’s lead author.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/humans-monkeys-one-mind-when-it-comes-changing-it
Astronomers Shed Light on Black Hole Development
An international team of scientists including a Virginia Tech physicist has discovered that winds blowing from a supermassive black hole in a nearby galaxy work to obscure observations and x-rays.
The discovery, published in Science Express, sheds light on the unexpected behavior of black holes, which emit large amounts of matter through powerful, galactic winds.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/astronomers-shed-light-black-hole-development
‘Natural’ Moisturizers Can Cause Food Allergies
A woman has experienced a life-threating allergic reaction after using a moisturiser with “natural” ingredients. The 55-year-old woman experienced the reaction after eating goat’s cheese, which researchers say was triggered by the repeated use several months earlier of a moisturizer that contained goat’s milk.
Prof. Robyn O’Hehir, Director of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, at Monash Univ. says many creams – even for the treatment of dry skin and eczema – are advertised as “natural” products.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/%E2%80%98natural%E2%80%99-moisturizers-can-cause-food-allergies
Computer Can ID Bio-parents
A Univ. of Central Florida research team has developed a facial recognition tool that promises to be useful in rapidly matching pictures of children with their biological parents and in potentially identifying photos of missing children as they age.
The work verifies that a computer is capable of matching pictures of parents and their children. The study will be presented at the nation’s premier event for the science of computer vision – the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Columbus, Ohio, which begins Monday, June 23.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/computer-can-id-bio-parents
Contaminated Parmesan Cheese Seized
Italian police have seized 2,400 wheels of contaminated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and detained four people in the latest safety problem afflicting some of Italy’s most prized foods.
The cheese was contaminated with aflatoxin, a highly-carcinogenic toxin that can be found in corn used to feed animals, Italian news agency ANSA report.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/contaminated-parmesan-cheese-seized
Diet Makes Kids 15 Percent Less Likely to be Overweight
A study of eight European countries presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO)in Sofia, Bulgaria, has shown that children consuming a diet more in line with the rules of the Mediterranean one are 15 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than those children who do not.
The research is by Gianluca Tognon, Univ. of Gothenburg, and colleagues across the 8 countries: Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia and Hungary.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/diet-makes-kids-15-percent-less-likely-be-overweight
Today in Lab History: June 20, 1861- Sir Frederick Hopkins
Sir Frederick Hopkins was an English biochemist, born June 20, 1861, who shared, with Christiaan Eijkman, the 1929 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of essential nutrient factors, now known as vitamins, needed in animal diets to maintain health. Hopkins fed young rats on a basic diet that, in addition to the necessary salts, contained a carefully purified mixture of lard, starch and casein (the most abundant protein in milk).
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/09/today-lab-history-sir-frederick-hopkins
Asian Clean Energy Hub Launched
The Asian Development Bank and two U.N. agencies launched a hub this week to mobilize investments and innovation to bring clean energy to the Asia Pacific region, where more than 600 million people lack electricity and 1.8 billion use firewood and charcoal at home.
Energy demand is soaring in the region on the back of economic and population growth, and the ADB says that by 2035 developing countries in the region will account for 56 percent of global energy use, up from 34 percent in 2010. They will need more than $200 billion in energy investments by 2030.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/asian-clean-energy-hub-launched
Robot Finds Leaky Pipes
Explosions caused by leaking gas pipes under city streets have frequently made headlines in recent years, including one that leveled an apartment building in New York this spring. But while the problem of old and failing pipes has garnered much attention, methods for addressing such failing infrastructure have lagged far behind.
Typically, leaks are found using aboveground acoustic sensors, which listen for faint sounds and vibrations caused by leakage, or in-pipe detectors, which sometimes use video cameras to look for signs of pipe breaks. But all such systems are very slow, and can miss small leaks altogether.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/robot-finds-leaky-pipes
New Zealand Announces High-security Biocontainment Lab
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a new $65 m high-security biocontainment laboratory announced in Wallaceville is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to biosecurity.
“The new facility will replace the existing high security laboratory and continue more than 100 years of animal disease diagnostics at the site,” says Guy. “The existing laboratories and skilled personnel have an essential role in responding to disease outbreaks, protecting public health and providing international trade assurances about New Zealand’s animal disease status. While these current labs have a good service record, they are now reaching the end of their design life. This new, fit-for-purpose laboratory facility will be equipped to current international standards, and have better capacity to deal with a large-scale emergency situation, in the unlikely event one should occur.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/new-zealand-announces-high-security-biocontainment-lab
Manufacturing Method Key to ‘Soft’ Machines, Robots
Researchers have developed a technique that might be used to produce “soft machines” made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics. Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.
However, new manufacturing techniques must be developed before soft machines become commercially practical, says Rebecca Kramer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue Univ. She and her students are working to develop the fabrication technique, which uses a custom-built 3-D printer. Recent findings show how to use the technique to create devices called strain gauges, which are commonly found in many commercial applications to measure how much something is stretching.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/manufacturing-method-key-soft-machines-robots
New Lab to Speed Michigan Water Testing
A new laboratory at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township aims to speed and improve the process of testing water at beaches in Michigan.
The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens and The Detroit News report the lab opened this week in Harrison Township following years of work to improve testing. The lab is part of a pilot project designed to help state officials plan for future water monitoring.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/new-lab-speed-michigan-water-testing