When you hear 3D printing, what do you think of? Perhaps you imagine creating inanimate objects like chairs, wrenches, or toys out of construction materials (e.g. plastic, ceramic, or metal). The uses of additive printing have evolved way past that and now serve an important role in medicine and research.
The main purpose of any vaccine is to stop the spread of communicable diseases from one person to another and, where possible, to abolish the disease outright from the general population. There are many commercially available vaccines for a variety of viral and bacterial diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis, human papillomavirus, and influenza. To develop these and other vaccines, three things are required: research to find an antigen (usually a protein produced by the pathogen) that produces a protective immune response against the disease, a platform in which to produce the vaccine, and clinical testing.
Science has recently begun to establish some of the tools that might let us develop a form of synthetic life. Developing cells from scratch ought to let us understand a whole lot more about what actually constitutes a living organism, while making it possible to generate simpler (yet no less sophisticated) life-like organisms that can be more predictably manipulated.1
Cryogenics is one of the most important fields that has been integrated into biomedical research. It’s employed to store a variety samples, including human tissue specimens, blood samples, and primary cells, making cryogenic storage an essential tool for hospitals and research facilities alike. Here, we’ll briefly explore how the field of cryogenics has developed within the last century to produce the storage equipment used throughout the world to perform ground-breaking research and to discover new medical advances.
Climate change is a global phenomenon with wide-ranging and potentially disastrous effects for the entire human population. The consumption of fossil fuels (e.g. coal, oil, and gas) combined with mass deforestation has led to exorbitantly high atmospheric CO2 levels that were only last recorded 800,000 years ago. These high CO2 levels have resulted in a significant increase in the average global temperature, a key factor that has led to the polar ice caps melting at an accelerated pace, making the seas warmer and sea levels higher.1 Heat waves are much stronger than they used to be, record-breaking hurricanes occur much more frequently than before, and we’ve lost nearly 60% of the world’s wildlife.2 It’s been well-documented that these changes are a result of human activities, as worldwide economic and technological progress has led to a consistent increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Altogether, this has led to a rise in the average global temperature of nearly one degree Celsius since 1901, with the rate of global warming having doubled since 1975.3
Many industries require barcodes to track their inventory, samples, and equipment. To integrate the data from the barcodes into a tracking system, the barcodes must be scanned when each item is processed. So, how do scanners relay the information from barcodes to a computer?
Histology has evolved considerably since its beginnings in the 17th century, with advances in both specimen processing and analysis. Consequently, histology departments now face increasingly larger workloads. To adapt, they have integrated automated systems, which save time and allow histology professionals to work on other skill-based tasks, while maintaining enough flexibility to process and stain according to the needs of the medical or research lab. Here, we’ll explore how automation has been integrated into histology to speed up the workflow of both medical technicians and researchers.
Whether you have banks of cell lines stored in liquid nitrogen or assay reagents constantly consumed, managing your inventory is necessary to keep your lab running smoothly. That means having processes and workflows in place to guarantee the lab is working at peak efficiency, as well as having the proper material and infrastructure to track and manage your assets. Below, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can efficiently manage your inventory and keep track of everything in your lab.
Errors occur every day in healthcare institutions and research facilities. Medical lab errors can be very costly, setting hospitals back hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars for every mislabeled sample, causing irreparable harm to the physical and mental health of the patient. Errors in research also have a broad impact, skewing results and wasting precious materials—which are often irreplaceable—and years of effort.
So, you’ve decided to purchase a set of labels and a label printer, but you haven’t figured out which software you should install to design your labels with. There are several different options, from basic software that comes with the printer to specialized software, such as BarTender™ and Label Matrix™, each of which can be used on their own or as part of a laboratory information management system (LIMS). Here, we’ll review some of the pros and cons of each option.