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
Translational Facilities Blend Research with Clinical Care
Basic research labs are being closely integrated with medical-based clinical facilities to accelerate the overall bench-to-bedside process.
Translational research is a “new” science concept intended to translate research findings in basic research to practical applications in the health, environmental and agricultural sciences, among others. The popular meaning in its most notable application—health science—is translating basic knowledge into the development of new medical treatments or meaningful health outcomes—or put more simply “bench-to-bedside.”
The Proving Ground
What are the qualities that go into a top life science research university?
Universities are primarily thought of as training grounds—a place for students to learn the concepts they need to succeed in their careers. But for many universities, they’re also proving grounds, places where conducting research, testing theories and making new discoveries are just as important as graduation rates. Not only does research fulfill the goal of advancing knowledge, but those schools with the best research departments attract the brightest minds and, in many cases, provide additional revenue to the school.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/proving-ground
Federal Cuts Slow, But Don’t Stop Growth
Slowing federal investments in academia first surfaced in 2012, and likely will remain as federal spending cuts continue.
For the first time in more than 50 years, the federal government reduced the absolute amount of support it supplied for higher education in 2012 from the amount it supplied in 2011 ($40.1 billion in 2012 versus $40.8 billion in 2011). In some previous years, such as 2007, the amount the federal government increased its academic support was less than the inflation rate for that year and so real dollar increases were not seen, but at least there was the perception that an increase was being made. The 1.6% decline in support seen in 2012, when added to the 1.7% inflation rate for that year means that the actual impact on academic support was more than 3%.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/federal-cuts-slow-dont-stop-growth
Universities are teaming with various departments, industry and non-profits in the fight against energy-hogging campus laboratories.
Academic researchers collaborate with one another on a regular basis—papers are published with multiple authors from multiple departments, spin-off technologies are often the brainchild of numerous scientists and new laboratories are built/renovated to physically and mentally encourage partnership. In this day and age, it’s only natural for one buzzword to meet the next—collaboration meet sustainability; you could learn something from each other.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/collaborative-sustainability
The Good & Not-So-Good of Academic Rankings
A plethora of academic ranking systems reveal “old school” traditions and new school limitations.
The ranking of academic institutions is an active endeavor with numerous methodologies created by numerous organizations, often for various end purposes. The table on the right illustrates just four of the more popular ranking systems, with specific categorizations shown for two of them (USNWR and THE). The data shown in the table represent a range of rankings for various criteria.
Read complete article here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/good-not-so-good-academic-rankings
Are You Using the Right Viscometer?
Just answer a few simple questions about your lab’s viscometer use and data management to avoid a 21 CFR compliance headache.
The work horse in the viscosity measurement world for QC testing on pharmaceutical liquids and semi-solids is the rotational viscometer. The operator attaches the spindle specified in the test method, conditions the sample to the recommended temperature, turns on the motor at the defined speed and records the viscosity result in centipoises. What are the caveats?
Find out now: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/are-you-using-right-viscometer
The amount of research data being generated is currently increasing at an annual rate of 30 percent. As scientific data output grows even further, effective data organization is not only going to become more important, but also more difficult.
One study has found that 80 percent of scientific data is lost within two decades and the odds of sourcing datasets decline by 17 percent each year. If data continues to be poorly managed, science will ultimately suffer, with experiments being hard to replicate, findings called into question, papers retracted and careers impacted.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/love-or-lose-your-data
Best Practices for Surplus Lab Equipment
Managing surplus assets is a vital part of business operations that, when executed correctly, can provide cost savings, create new revenue and protect the brand.
With downsizing, mergers and acquisitions and plant closures becoming a mainstay in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, organizations face millions of dollars in real estate, laboratory equipment and research devices that need to be redeployed, sold or trashed. Given budget restrictions and the importance of maximizing recovery while being privy to environmental regulations, organizations can no longer afford to simply allow assets to lie idle or dispose of them without any thought to the process.
Read more: www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/best-practices-surplus-lab-equipment
Hands-on Program Helps Students, Algae Grow
Extensive lab facilities and a real-world learning approach at a Texas community college has put students and their algae research on a path to success.
Biotechnology student Timothy Hall squinted at a flask full of algae, then carefully placed a few drops into a lab instrument using a pipette. In a few seconds, hundreds of green algal cells appeared on screen. He clicked on several of the digital images, reviewed their measurements and other data and analyzed it for trends or patterns. Hall goes through this process almost daily, monitoring the growth of algal cells and their production of lipids as part of primary research he’s conducting in hopes of someday leading a viable commercial enterprise selling algae as feedstock for biofuel production and other applications. But Hall hasn’t looked for any venture funding. His work on moving America toward energy independence is part of his associate degree program in biotechnology at Lone Star Community College’s Montgomery campus in Conroe, Texas.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/04/hands-program-helps-students-algae-grow
Pure Lab Water: The Essential Lab Component
Increasing analytical instrumentation capabilities are expected to drive the demand for higher performance, easier-to-use and more flexible lab water systems.
"Ultrapure lab water is essential to research laboratory applications,” says Wayne Darsa, Director of Business Development at ELGA LabWater, Woodridge, Ill. “Often, however, it’s taken for granted even though it makes up the vast majority of reagents. In a worst case scenario, months of lab work can be called into question if inconsistencies in the ultrapure lab water source are identified in its delivery, jeopardizing published data.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/03/pure-lab-water-essential-lab-component
The Right Supply for the Right Sample
Considering all options for liquid nitrogen supply systems, including size and safety, is critical to further the growth of cryogenic applications.
The growth of storing and preserving biological materials in cryogenic liquid nitrogen freezers has resulted in many options and challenges in how to effectively supply these systems with the cryogenic liquid they require. Evaluating options, sizing and safety considerations is critical to determining the path a university laboratory or research facility should choose for implementation.
In new construction of facilities where dedicated freezer storage areas can be designed into the building plan, a large low-pressure bulk liquid nitrogen supply connected to a vacuum-jacketed pipeline is typically the best option. This type of installation allows for the most cost-efficient delivery of nitrogen by the supplier and potentially the lowest evaporation loss of cryogen to the freezers because of the low-heat transfer properties of vacuum-insulated piping systems.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/02/right-supply-right-sample
Faster, Better Sample Prep for Foodstuffs
Centrifugal evaporation has proven itself as a fast, safe and efficient sample preparation method in the analysis of foodstuffs for prohibited antibiotics.
Nitrofuran antibiotics were banned from use in the European Union (EU) in 1995 because of concerns that their residues were carcinogenic. In 2002/2003, the EU introduced a stringent testing regimen that calls for the use of highly sensitive methods to test food stuffs, principally meat, fish and shellfish, for the presence of this class of antibiotics. The Minimum Required Performance Limit (MRPL) laid down by the EU directive is 1 µg per kg for edible tissues, and is enforced on all products whether produced locally or imported into the EU. Many papers detail methods and identify metabolites and derivatives of the drugs concerned. The analytical method calls for good upstream sample preparation to eliminate the effects of the matrix, and can be manual and time consuming, particularly where evaporation is concerned. This article describes operational benefits, including workflow improvements, gained by the official food control authority of the canton of Zurich—Kantonales Labor Zurich (KLZH) —during improvement of an upstream sample preparation methodology based on Genevac’s EZ-2 Envi evaporator.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/01/faster-better-sample-prep-foodstuffs
Flexibility, Software and Ease-of-Use Drive Next-Gen Lab Automation
Making lab automation systems usable to non-experts is becoming a driver for equipment suppliers.
In today’s tight economic climate, the cost of operating a modern research lab is often considered the primary challenge for research managers and directors. One could extrapolate from that posit that, when considering the application of automation systems, the resulting reduction of costs from automation implementation would be the driving factor. But the substitution of machine systems for high-cost human operations is not the primary reason for implementing lab automation. Indeed, it’s not even the second reason, according to a recent reader survey by the editors of Laboratory Equipment.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/01/flexibility-software-and-ease-use-drive-next-gen-lab-automation
Temperature Standardization Gets the Cold Shoulder
Laboratories remain slow to adopt protocols and technologies that can improve and standardize temperature control in biomaterial sample handling and preservation.
While research involving temperature-sensitive biomaterials has been conducted for centuries, efforts to standardize temperature control in sample processing and handling have not been widely adopted. The situation continues despite the fact that research involving temperature-sensitive biomaterials has grown exponentially in recent years. Drug developers are now increasingly targeting biologics and other therapies that are highly temperature-sensitive. Out of the top 10 global pharma products positioned for launch in 2014, seven are biologics that have stringent requirements for cold chain handling. In addition, the introduction of new assays and other diagnostic tools based on analysis of blood, plasma, tissue and other biomaterials means that more laboratories than ever are now handling biological samples. In many cases, samples must be shipped to different locations for processing or analysis, making temperature control even more challenging.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2013/12/temperature-standardization-gets-cold-shoulder