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Jan 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 2)

Tools and Technologies to Advance Cell Biology Exhibited at ASCB

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    Results from a cell viability assay with corresponding plot are displayed on EMD Millipore’s new Muse cell analyzer.

    EMD Millipore (a division of Merck KGaA) introduced the Muse™ cell-analysis platform at the American Society for Cell Biology annual conference. The Muse provides multiparametric information on cell populations for real-time quantitative assessment of cell concentration, cell health, apoptosis, and cell-cycle status.

    Laser-based fluorescence detection of individual cell events can evaluate up to three cellular parameters. The system can analyze either suspension or adherent cells that range from 2 to 60 microns in diameter. Muse is based on micro-capillary flow cytometry, quantifying the laser light scattered by individual cells. The initial three assays available for Muse measure total cell count, percent viability, and cell cycle.

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    According to BioData, Labguru enables users to easily define research projects, milestones, protocol and experiments, as well as manage tasks and events in an integrated calendar.

    BioData launched Labguru, a web-based customizable research management tool. It’s designed for academic labs to help researchers plan experiments, track progress, share results and comments, manage inventories, and organize related documents, protocols, and data.

    Labguru can help junior researchers plan and organize their research, track their results, communicate with the principal investigator and other members of the research team, and stay connected to the other activities under way in the lab, according to the company. It helps them access relevant literature and knowledge base, and access information and updates on past, current, and planned research projects, publications, and resources.

    The tool can also be used to annotate results, figures, protocols, and papers, to support thesis preparation, to locate reagents, samples, and other resources, to schedule use of shared equipment, and to coordinate purchasing and inventory.

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    UVP says its new ChemiDoc-It® Imager helps streamline the imaging workflow for chemiluminescent, fluorescent, colorimetric, and multiplex gels and blots. Features include an integrated touch screen, capture software, and a live preview button that generates an instant image sample.

    The new ChemiDoc-It® imaging system from UVP contains an interior darkroom with an adjustable sample platform and uses a CCD camera, Epi LED white light, and either motorized or manual fixed lenses to image chemiluminescent Western blots.

    Spectral Applied Research showcased its Borealis Widefield laser-based illumination system for use with an epifluorescence microscope for applications including FRET imaging, particle tracking, quantitative FRAP, single-molecule imaging, and super-resolution localization microscopy.

    Mad City Labs launched the Nano-Cyte™ image acquisition and stabilization platform-independent system that provides 3-D stabilization at the nanometer scale over a period of days, correcting for temperature gradients and sample and microscope drift. The system’s software-driven feedback control system achieves stabilization in the XY plane of +10 nm and in the Z plan of +20 nm.

    FLoid™ is Life Technologies’ new fluorescence cell-imaging station designed to block ambient light and for use with Molecular Probes® reagents. FLoid comprises an open stage, built-in optical filters, a 20x fluorite objective lens, and protocols for 160 validated dyes and probes, and includes a keyboard, mouse, printer, and USP drive.

    Thermo Scientific Nalgene has added a 1,000 mL MF75 0.1 micron PES filter unit to its line of filter membrane systems designed for mycoplasma removal.

    Innopsys has automated microcontact printing for biomolecule deposition to produce microarrays and microfluidic devices with its InnoStamp instrument. Magnetic stamp technology achieves homogeneous contact between the stamp and the substrate for reproducible spotting.

    Lumencor’s Light Engine illuminators—Spectra and Spectrax—have an average bandpass of 20 nm and a lifetime of about 15,000 hours, and each offers camera synchronization, electronic intensity control and shuttering, liquid light guide coupling, and fiber-optic, direct scope, and confocal coupling capabilities.

    A prototype of Advanced Microscopy Group’s EVOS FL automated fluorescence microscope was on display. Due on the market later this year, the imager uses LED-based fluorescence technology that requires no bulbs or calibration.

    The instrument’s scan wizard allows for multiple color imaging, entire vessel scans, and scans in multiple x-stack planes with options for image stitching or image acquisition for downstream analysis.

    InstantOne™ PhosphoELISA is a one-hour, single wash cell-signaling assay from eBioscience for the detection of total- and/or phospho-protein levels of a specific protein. The capture antibody is bound to the assay plate, and the target analyte binds to both of the two sandwich ELISA antibodies in solution.

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    Hamamatsu reports that its ORCA-Flash4.0 camera covers a range of imaging needs including super resolution microscopy, TIRF microscopy, live cell GFP, high-speed calcium ion imaging, FRET, and real-time confocal microscopy. The camera also features high quantum efficiency and low noise, according to the firm.

    Hamamatsu introduced the ORCA®-flash 4.0 sCMOS digital camera with greater than 70% quantum efficiency at a wavelength of 600 nm. Other key attributes include 4.0 megapixel resolution, read noise at 100 frames/second at 1.3 electrons, and a readout speed of 100 frames/second at full resolution.

    Cellendes featured the modular 3-D Life Hydrogel system. It includes all of the reagents needed to design biomimetic extracellular environments, including maleimide-modified dextran polymers, adhesion peptides such as RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp), and polyethylene glycol (PEG-Link) or matrix metalloprotease cleavable (CD-Link) crosslinkers.

    Users control the composition, peptide density, and gel strength. The addition of dextranase after cell culture leads to gel degradation, allowing for recovery of live or chemically fixed cells.

    Matrigen’s Softwell™ transparent hydrogel-coated wells for cell culture can be tuned to match the softness of specific body tissues. The thin hydrogel layer will not interfere with most cell-based assays or detection methods, according to the company.

    The hydrogels are composed of polyacrylamide crosslinked with bisacrylamide and modified by the addition of functional groups or extracellular matrix proteins.

    Two cell image resource centers—ASCB’s The Cell: An Image Library and the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research’s (NCMIR) Cell Centered Database—have introduced an interface to facilitate archiving, sharing, and analysis of microscope images.

    The NCMIR will maintain the unified interface, which will allow users to explore interactively large image files of molecular and cellular biology content. The Web Image Browser tool provides access to ultrahigh-resolution images together with tools for collaborative data mark-up and annotation.

    The DeltaVision OMX Blaze™ 3-D super-resolution microscope system for live-cell imaging, from Applied Precision (a GE Healthcare company), incorporates a structured illumination module, three sCMOS cameras, five lasers, and the option for a fourth camera and additional lasers. It is capable of 3D-SIM imaging at <1 second per stack and widefield imaging at >400 frames per second.

    The InQbio Automated Cell Culture System for studying cell growth kinetics and cell proliferation provides temperature control from 27°C–40°C (fixed or cycling), gas delivery (air, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or custom blends; fixed or cycling), and media delivery (exchange or intermittent/continuous perfusion).


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