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What is Microscopy? An In-Depth Look

life sciences microscope

As a very basic definition, microscopy is the use of microscopes to view samples. These are samples which would not be visible to the ‘naked’ eye, so the microscope is used to dramatically magnify the objects in question. Most people are familiar with the use of a microscope from a science class they had in school along the way, even if that was years ago. Of course, the microscopes used by professionals in this field are a far cry from what is used by the average class of school children.

A Long History

While it is a decidedly high-tech field these days, the use of microscopes actually dates back many, many years. Humans have been attempting to magnify small items for viewing for centuries, and the microscopes available today represent the best of what mankind has been able to develop. If not for the considerable efforts of individuals hundreds of years ago, microscopy may not have developed into the advanced field that it has become.

The Basic Concept

So, how does a microscope work? For something so technical, it is a decidedly simple concept. The idea is to move light through a sample, either sending it directly through the sample or reflecting it, and then through one or more lenses in order to be viewed. Once a magnified image of the sample is created, it can be utilized in many ways. It may simply be viewed by the microscopist, it may be captured digitally for viewing later, or captured with a photographic plate. No matter what the specific plan may be, the magnification makes it possible to view things on a scale that simply isn’t achievable with the human eye alone.

Understanding the World

The uses of microscopy are too diverse to even attempt listing in this article. There are virtually countless potential uses for a microscope, but they all come back to the same basic idea – seeking a better understanding of the world and how it works. Microscopes are used extensively in the medical field, of course, but that is just the start. Anytime meaningful research is being completed in a scientific field, it is virtually certain that microscopes are playing some kind of role along the way. So much of what we know about the world is owed to the use of microscopes, and only time will tell what other discoveries microscopy will make possible.

Just Another Tool

At the end of the day, microscopes are incredible tools – but they are just that, tools. And tools need to be used by capable, knowledgeable people if they are going to be effective. So, as a field, microscopy depends just as much on the people looking into the microscope as the device itself. Without the well-trained scientists and other individuals who have learned how to use the equipment, and learned what they are looking for, the microscope itself wouldn’t hold much value. It’s the bringing together of human and machine that makes great things possible in this field.

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How to Set Up a Basic Homebrew Laboratory

home brew equipment
If you are interested in beer beyond just having a couple drinks from time to time, you might decide to take up a homebrew project. After all, what better what to get to know the ins and outs of beer than to brew it yourself? Not only will this provide you with a thorough beer education, but it will also leave you with something unique to drink when all is said and done.

There is certainly a lot of educational ground to cover if you’d like to get started brewing your own beer – more than we can fit in this article – but we’d like to quickly touch on the basics of setting up your home brewing lab equipment.

Getting Started Simply

It’s tempting when getting into the world of homebrew to throw a bunch of money at the project, buying all of the latest and greatest gear on the market. Don’t fall into that trap. For one thing, you don’t know if you are going to like this hobby, even if you are excited about it at the moment. Also, you don’t yet know if you’ll have time for it, or if you will enjoy the results of your work. With that in mind, do your best to keep it simple – and cheap – at the start. There will always be more expensive gear to buy later if you really get into it, but don’t rush to that stage just yet.

The Right Thermometer

Measuring temperatures accurately is one of the most important capabilities in your lab. You’ll find that you need to measure temperatures regularly, so you don’t want to be doubting the accuracy of your thermometer. Fortunately, you can purchase a quality lab thermometer for a relatively modest price.

The Right Scale

Just as is the case with temperature, you also need to be able to measure weights accurately as you prepare your materials. You’ll want a quality scale that is capable of measuring in grams. For supreme accuracy you’ll probably want to opt for a digital scale, although that option will be a little more expensive. To save money, look for a good counterbalance scale.

A Variety of Other Supplies

It seems that the list of various tools and pieces of equipment you need to homebrew properly just keeps going and going. The exact list of what you need to acquire will depend on the specific process you are going to use and the level of accuracy you wish to achieve. Fortunately, most of the items that you can use in this process are relatively affordable. Some potential shopping targets include a triple-scale hydrometer, 50-mL plastic tubes, test tube rack, coors plate, spray bottle, and more.

Taking on the challenge of a homebrew project is no small feat, but it can be tremendously rewarding when the final product works out just right. Take your time developing a proper lab space so your efforts are not wasted as a result of an insufficient workspace and the wrong equipment. Good luck!

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Top 5 Mistakes Life Science Startups Make on the Path to Clinical Trials

life sciences

Starting a business in the life sciences industry comes along with the potential for massive rewards. Of course, those rewards are promised to no one, and far more companies fail than succeed. So, what is it that separates the success stories from the rest? Avoiding the five mistakes listed below is a great place to start.

#1 – Believe Results – Not Your Preconceived Notions

It’s easy to think that your plan from the start is going to work all the way through clinical trials and onto the market. Unfortunately, that is not likely to be the case. You are going to need to trust the data that you obtain during your early studies and use it to chart a path forward. Ignoring what the data is trying to tell you is a sure way to head down the wrong road.

#2 – Letting Your Ego Get in the Way

There is plenty of confidence required to take on a task on the scale of starting a life science company. While it is a good thing to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities, it is also important to reach out for expert assistance when necessary. It’s unlikely that you know everything there is to know about all parts of your new business. The most successful business owners tend to be those who are adept at sticking to what they do best and turning over the rest to others.

#3 – Planning for the Roadblocks

If you think you are going to have a clear path and easy road from the start of your company on through clinical trials, you are in for a rude awakening. Sure, that’s always possible, but it sure isn’t likely. There are almost certainly going to be hurdles that pop up along the way, which is why you need to plan for how you are going to respond when issues pop up. Positioning yourself to adapt quickly when things don’t go your way will largely determine whether your venture is able to survive.

#4 – Managing the Business Side

There are certain things that all businesses need to do in order to remain viable and stay in operation long enough to make a difference. If a life science startup turns a blind eye to the business side of the equation, it’s going to be hard – or downright impossible – to make things work. Working with a business accelerator or incubator can be a great help to scientists who are more experienced in the lab than they are in the boardroom.

#5 – Hear Everything

You don’t necessarily have to accept every piece of advice you are given, but you certainly should listen. Take in as much information as you can from as many different sources as you work on making decisions and charting a path forward. Remember, those who can provide important input are not necessarily the highest-ranking individuals in your organization, or even the most experienced. Keep an open mind and an open office door so you can absorb all of the ideas available to you.

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Must-Have Tools & Lab Equipment for Your Cannabis Business

cannabis testing

It’s no secret that the cannabis business has taken a big step forward in recent years. More and more states are voting to legalize the use of marijuana, and businesses are working hard to carve out their piece of the pie. If you are already involved in the cannabis business, or you are planning to get involved in the near future, you’ll need to have the right tools and cannabis lab equipment in order to succeed. Let’s take a look at some of the key items that you will want to consider while getting up and running.

Indoor Lighting for Plants

This is a pretty easy place to start. If you are going to be growing indoors, you are going to need the right lights to get the job done. Of course, there are plenty of growing lights available on the market today, so plenty of research will be needed before you make your purchase. Keep in mind things like electricity rates and the space you will need to light as you decide on the type of bulbs to use.

Worker Protection

Staying on the topic of lights, those who are consistently working around the lights should be wearing the appropriate UV protection. It can be harmful to be exposed to UV rays, so having things like sunglasses, hats, clothes, and more – all of which are rated for UV protection – is important. If your grow takes place outside rather than inside, the same concerns will be in place, only with regard to the sun rather than the lights.

HVAC Equipment

For an indoor growing environment, temperature control is one of the most important tasks you’ll need to manage. It’s essential to have the right equipment in place so you can control the temperature within the building with the necessary precision to keep the plants on track. Not only will poor HVAC equipment make it hard to maintain the right temperature, you also may find that your energy costs are higher due to the inefficiency.

Pest Management Gear

You are obviously going to need to keep pests at bay if you are going to have a successful crop when all is said and done. However, you can’t just pick up the first pesticide you find at the store and start spraying away. You will need to be sure to comply with legislation that applies to cannabis plants. Do a bit of research on this topic and have the right equipment and products on hand to manage pests effectively.

Security Equipment

To finish our list, we would like to discuss one point that probably will come up pretty early in your process. This is a business which naturally comes along with security concerns, so high-quality equipment to protect your property and your plants is essential. Cameras are a great start, but you will need to make sure they are installed properly if you are going to capture valuable information during a theft. In addition to security cameras, a secure vault where you can place plants is another vital piece of the puzzle.

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The Best Places for Jobs in Biotechnology

biotech jobs

If you want to work in biotechnology – or, if you already work in biotech and are looking to advance your career – you may be interested in knowing where the best locations are to find opportunities in this field. Fortunately, some of the best areas for biotech are also simply great places to call home, meaning you should find no shortage of attractive options. Let’s take a look at some of the current hotspots in the biotechnology world.

The Bay Area

You probably won’t be surprised to see the Bay Area included in this list. With an extremely active technology scene in and around Silicon Valley, you have probably already considered making a move to this region. In addition to the job opportunities, there is tremendous natural beauty and culture to enjoy within San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

North Carolina

Again, this is one which isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone working or studying in this field. As you might suspect, many of the best options are located in the so-called ‘Research Triangle’. It is estimated that more than 60,000 jobs exist in this area within the biotech field, meaning there is plenty of opportunity to pursue your professional passion.

Southern California

It doesn’t take much to sell most people on the idea of moving to Southern California. First, there is the weather. With sunny skies and moderate temperatures nearly all year long, it’s an easy place to picture yourself living. In addition, there is more to see and do than you could ever check off in a lifetime. Thanks to the fact that more than 1,000 companies in the life sciences field call the San Diego region home, there are almost certainly going to be opportunities here for you to explore.

The Pacific Northwest

This may be one of the more surprising entries on our list, but it shouldn’t be if you think closely about what the Pacific Northwest has to offer these days. The greater Seattle area is a hotbed of technology, with huge companies like Amazon and Microsoft (and others) making their home by the Puget Sound. If natural beauty and an outdoor way of life are high on your list, you’ll certainly want to consider job opportunities that come out of the upper left-hand corner of the country.

The Midwest

Along with the Pacific Northwest, this is the other entry on the list that may be a bit surprising. Most people associate the Midwest with farming and the like, but there is plenty of tech work being done here, as well. If you include nine states in this area, you can count up an incredible total of more than 350,000 people working in this field. While much of the Midwest does offer a quiet, rural charm, there are also big cities which offer a faster-paced way of life. One of the best things about picking the Midwest as your landing spot is the ability to choose what kind of lifestyle you will lead away from the office.

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BaneBio and BioSurplus Conduct A Collaborative Online Auction

From October 15th-18th, BaneBio in conjunction with BioSurplus will conduct a collaborative and timed online auction of lab assets from Aeras-USA based in Rockville, Maryland. Discover over 300 lots of flow cytometers, ultralow freezers, biosafety cabinets, microscopes, refrigerated centrifuges, consumables, and many other laboratory essentials at this unique and exciting event!

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How to Quickly & Safely Prepare Samples

scientists with lab equipment

It’s hard to keep up with the flow of work in a busy lab, as some tasks simply take a long time to complete. The preparation of samples is one of those tasks in many cases. Depending on the type of sample being prepared, it might be hard to get the job done in time to keep up with everything else that needs to be done. Fortunately, there are methods available that can help to quickly and safely prepare samples. One such technique – the use of ultrasonic energy – is a popular option. Using the ultrasonic process can help with a variety of tasks, such as dispersing, emulsifying, mixing, dissolving, and more.

Following the Steps

As with everything that takes place in a lab, there are specific steps which should be followed when trying to prepare a sample quickly and properly. Once the samples are placed in an appropriate container, along with the right solvent, the ultrasonic process can begin. It is important, of course, to completely understand how to use the equipment involved in this process, as the results will only be accurate when the ultrasonic bath is employed in the correct manner.

One key point to consider when using ultrasonic energy is the matter of heat. Should your samples be heat sensitive, it will be necessary to use lab equipment which is capable of keeping the samples at an acceptable temperature during the process. For instance, some ultrasonic cleaners can use cooling coils to avoid the rising temperatures that would normally come with the use of ultrasonic energy.

Finding the Right Equipment

Purchasing new or used equipment for a laboratory is always a tricky job, and that is certainly the case when looking for gear that will permit you to prepare samples quickly and safely. For starters, you need to be able to find the right equipment for the specific jobs you need to complete, as your needs may vary even from similar labs. Also, you are going to have to remain within your budget, of course, as all purchases are subject to budgetary limitations of some kind. Only when you find equipment that both serves your needs and fits in your budget will you be able to move forward.

Once said equipment is purchased and put into action, regular cleaning and maintenance is necessary to get the most out of the investment. Machines which are capable of helping lab technicians quickly prepare samples are highly technical in nature and must be cared for properly. The key here is to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning and care. Each piece of equipment is unique, so it would be a mistake to assume that the care provided to one unit is going to be right for the others in the lab.

In a perfect world, you would have all the time you needed to prepare a sample without any sense of urgency. That is usually not the case, however, so using technologies which permit the rapid and safe preparation of samples is reality for many labs.

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Four of the Latest Lab Equipment & Technology Trends

Just like every other field, laboratories are always evolving and changing. What was cutting edge just a few years ago may now be seen as behind the times. If you are going to be competitive in this line of work, you need to make sure your lab is staying in touch with the latest and greatest that the market has to offer.

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Life Sciences Trends to Watch Over the Next 12 Months

Nothing is permanent in business. Just when it seems that there is an obvious trend or pattern to the way things work, someone comes along to disrupt the market and change the way everyone operates. With that in mind, it is worthwhile to take a look at the trends to watch over the coming year in the life sciences market.

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