Thursday, April 16, 2015

Iceland: a sequenced nation

An Icelandic company (deCODE) has sequenced the genome of more than 100,000 Icelanders, according to papers in the renowned scientific journal Nature Genetics. Why Icelanders? Well, it appears that Iceland offers optimal conditions for population genetics as it is a relatively isolated island with a relative small population (around 320,000 inhabitants) that has been isolated for a fairly long time.

The four published papers present highly detailed DNA-based population studies and contain the largest set of human genomes obtained from a single population to date.

In fact, the papers report interesting insights into the evolution, gene function, mutation and disease predisposition that could prompt a new approach to population-based analyses of genetic variations. In particular, human knockouts, increased Alzheimer’s disease risk caused by a loss of function, mutation and Y-chromosome point mutation rate were identified in the Icelandic population.

The four papers are linked here:

Although groundbreaking, this approach carries some ethical issues. The biggest question is whether Icelanders carrying health-threatening mutations should be contacted by the researchers or their physicians in order to check their health status and hopefully increase their life expectancy and outcomes. On one hand this approach will violate their privacy. On the other, to do nothing despite knowing that a patient is at high risk for a specific disease would also be ethically dubious.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nature journals go for double-blind review option – only science should count

The international highly recognized Nature journal (impact factor of 42 in 2013) has announced to offer double-blind reviews. The situation so far is that authors submit their paper, an editor rates the content and either rejects the paper or will forward it to a reviewer. The reviewer will comment to the paper anonymously whilst knowing the author’s identity.

With the double-blind approach the authors can demand that their names and institutions will not beshown to the reviewer. The aim behind offering this possibility is a good one. Without knowing the author’s identity prejudices and discrimination should be circumvented – only science should count.

While the pursuit of a more fair review process is welcomed by the research community, skepticism arises with regard to the question if the double-blind approach is the best solution. Some people argue that double-blind can only work if it is mandatory and not optional. They say that “big fishes” will always show their name while authors that are not working in well-known institutes are suspected to hide something then they go for the double-blind option. Other people are of the opinion that double-blind is the wrong way. In fact, fully open reviews are the method of choice in their eyes.

However, Nature will start with this project in March 2015 and we from BMG LABTECH think that it is worth a try and should be tested for a couple of months. Like in every research experiment a certain number of tests need to be done to have a statistically approved result. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wake up with BMG at SLAS2015!

BMG gets started early today at SLAS2015. We host our first tutorial of the day at 9:30 AM in room 159. Join us for breakfast while you learn about how the PHERAstar FS and CLARIOstar can be used for ultra-rapid detection of cardiac contraction. BMG will also participate in a tutorial hosted by Lumigen at 9:30 in room 143C where you can learn about BMG microplate readers and the detection of SPARCL Immunoassays.

Later in the day you can join BMG for lunch at 12:30 in room 143C and learn about detection of HTRF assays in human iPSC-derived cell types using the CLARIOstar. Representatives from BMG, Cisbio and CDI will be on hand to discuss; instrumentation, HTRF assay technologies, and iCell products and you will learn how you can implement iPSC’s into your workflow with HTS compatible assays and microplate readers.

You can also learn more about BMG at our posters today.  The CLARIOstar is featured in poster #1091 performing cardiotoxicity assessment using an FP assay. In addition two posters will feature the CLARIOstar using chemiluminesent detection. Poster #1099 describes a screen for treatments for osteoporosis and poster #1109 describes an assay to detect PARP activity. Finally, our collaborators at Labcyte present 2 more projects that use the PHERAstar FSto detect miniaturized assay at posters #1001 and #2801.

You can also find us at our booth #929! Please stop by and say hello!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Today at SLAS2015

The scientific portion of SLAS2015 will be in full swing today and BMG LABTECH will be highly involved!

We are hosting a tutorial at 2:00 in room 143 C. Here our representatives and those from Cisbio will talk about characterization of monoclonal biologics using Fc-g receptor binding assays. You will also find out more about the ability of the CLARIOstar and PHERAstar FS to perform HTRF assays. Refreshments will be served.

Today is also our busiest day presenting posters!

The CLARIOstar with ACU
Visit poster #1090 to find out more about how the CLARIOstar with ACU will help your long term-cell based assays.  This collaboration is also featured in Promega’s poster #1082. Poster # 1098 features the PHERAstar FS in detecting changes in cellular redox while poster #1110 employs the excellent fluorescent polarization detection capabilities of the CLARIOstar to assess protein-ligand binding. Finally, poster #2058 describes the use of the PHERAstar FS to detect the successful miniaturization of AlphaLISA TNF-a assays while Labcyte poster #1028 describes miniaturization of epigenetic assays using the same platform.

If you can’t meet with us at these posters please stop by our booth #929.

Friday, February 6, 2015

BMG LABTECH will be at SLAS2015!

BMG LABTECH is happy to once again be a Diamond Sponsor for SLAS2015! The conference opens this weekend and the exhibition hall will open on Sunday at 4:30 with the opening reception starting at 5:30. Please come visit us at booth #929 and help us celebrate our 25th anniversary!

Following the opening reception please join us at our Customer Event at nearby Lucky Strike. BMG along with co-hosts Promega, CDI and Gilson invite you to join us for food, drinks, bowling and pool! Stop by our booth if you would like more information.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Selective Inhibitors Identified in Labware Plastics

It is undeniable that the extensive use of plastic materials in labware has contributed to increased productivity and decreased costs. These plastics are generally considered to be chemically inert. However, a recent paper in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening is just the most recent example of the mounting evidence that plastics can contain trace chemical additives, also known as extractables and leachables, that can exhibit bioassay specific interference.

In the current paper, scientists from Bristol-Myers were using their PHERAstar microplate reader to perform a screen to identify compounds that inhibit monoamine oxidase using a fluoresence based assay. During the screen they observed an abrupt and drastic decrease in the signal-to-background ratio. After much investigation they finally discovered that 3 compounds, which were present in a new microplate used for compound storage and delivery, were the culprit. Further investigation revealed that these compounds were selective monoamine oxidase B inhibitors!

Article citation: Labware additives identified to be selective monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors.Stewart, J. et al J Biomol Screen (2014) 19:1409-14.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Using the CLARIOstar and LVF-Monochromator to Identify Wnt Modulators

BMG LABTECH recently posted a new application note (#255) that describes the use of the Leading LightTM Sclerostin-LRP Screening System from EnzoLife Sciences which enables the detection of Wnt-pathway modulators.

This application is important in the study of Wnt effects on bone formation which have been characterized to involve the binding to receptors on bone cells leading to regulation of transcription that promotes bone formation. Specifically, Wnt binds to the LRP 5/6 receptor and the effect of Wnt can be atagonized by Sclerostin when it interacts with the LRP 5/6 receptor leading to inhibition of bone formation. Enzo has exploited the LRP-Sclerostin interaction to produce a system that can identify compounds which block this interaction and could serve as treatments for osteoporosis.

Sclerostin-LRP System Assay Principle

In the Leading LightTM Sclerostin-LRP Interaction System, 96 well plates are coated with Sclerostin and binding of LRP can be seen since LRP5 is linked to the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (AP). After washing steps an AP substrate is added so that LRP5 which remains bound to the Sclerostin on the plates will be revealed by a chemiluminescent signal. Treatments which alter the interaction between Sclerostin and LRP5 can thus be identified based on changes in the luminescent signal which can be detected.

In this application note we found that detection of this chemiluminescent signal can be accomplished in a highly sensitive manner using the LVF-monochromator available on the CLARIOstar®! Using the CLARIOstar® the emission profile for the chemiluminescent signal can be observed. Furthermore, the unique ability of the CLARIOstar® to employ bandpasses up to 100 nm is displayed!

If you would like more information on this and other applications using BMGLABTECH microplate readers please visit the Applications Center on our website!