LabHomepage weekly news, 24 February 2012

WELCOME to the first weekly newsletter from LabHomepage, the new web resource for everybody involved with laboratory technology and operations.

Each edition will bring a summary of the week’s most interesting lab-related news, direct to your inbox. We will report on the latest instruments and other items of lab kit, on new ways of getting more from your kit, and on science news that affects what happens in the world’s laboratories. We will also regularly include some lighter stories that we think will be of interest.

For example, have you seen the latest craze (or ‘meme’) to hit the social web? In the last couple of weeks we’ve come across dozens of examples of ‘What They Think’, a collage of images showing the perceptions of different jobs by different people. Some of these are quite funny, but we couldn’t find any for lab people – so we made a couple. Check them out and feel free to share them (see No 3 below).

This week’s newsletter also includes a report from a scientific symposium we attended recently in Vienna, which was notable for two reasons: first the technology, which is really beginning to make personalised medicine a reality; and second the unscheduled interruption of the event by dozens of protesters who misunderstood what the whole thing was about. Our video camera was rolling throughout! (see story No 2).

In instrument news, we have stories of two claimed world firsts – a miniature NMR spectrometer and a triple isotope analyser, as well as a selection of other stories from the LabHomepage.

I have to say, we’re pretty excited to be launching this newsletter and look forward to appearing regularly in your inbox in future. Do let us know what you think, either by the response mechanism included on the site or by email to

To re-hash the old saying: if you like what you see, please tell your friends and colleagues. If you don’t, please tell me.

Best wishes

Russ Swan Editor,

This week’s top stories: 24 Feb 2012

1 Nanoscale measuring by standard optical microscope

NANOLANE says its Sarfus Mapping Lite system can turn any optical microscope into a nanometric measuring system using novel ‘Surfs’ in place of conventional glass slides. These bring about enough contrast enhancement to make nanoscale objects visible and measurable through the eyepiece…

2 Towards a future of personalised medicine

SPECIAL REPORT: LabHomepage attended the 9th Planet xMap conference and symposium in Vienna, Austria. This is a significant scientific symposium in its own right, but what makes it particularly compelling for me, writes LabHomepage editor Russ Swan…

3 Getting in on the ‘what they think’ meme

IN THE last week or so, we’ve seen versions of the latest internet meme all over the place – a panel of images, each labelled with ‘What [somebody] thinks I do’. We haven’t seen any for scientists or lab technicians, so we thought we’d have a go…

4 Automated imaging of DNA, RNA, and protein gels

GEL IMAGING has become a routine and highly automated process in many modern laboratories, helped along by rapid equipment innovation. Syngene’s G:Box F3, automatically captures and analyses images of DNA, RNA, and protein gels. The unassuming box contains a 3.8megapixel CCD camera, filter wheel, and …

5 Miniature NMR spectrometer is ‘world first’

A NUCLEAR magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer weighing just 5kg and requiring only 20 microlitres of sample for analysis has been unveiled by Cole-Parmer. The PicoSpin-45L is aimed at academic and chemistry labs, where it should provide a low-cost way of generating real-time…

6 Triple isotope analyser is ‘world first’

THE DIRECT simultaneous measurement of three isotopes in water and water vapour is now possible in a single instrument, says Los Gatos Research, with its IWA-46EP. This offers levels of sensitivity and precision comparable to the output of reference isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS)….

7 Lab-on-a-truck makes US tour

YOU’VE heard of lab-on-a-chip, well now we have lab-on-a-truck – a 15m-long, 20-tonne behemoth that will tour the USA and Canada this spring to demonstrate the latest in liquid chromatography / mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) instruments…

8 Measure temperature in a billionth of a second

SPECIALISED Imaging’s SIM ultra-fast framing camera can not only capture up to 32 images at one billion frames per second, it can also record temperatures at different positions during a high-speed event…

9 Innovation prize for lung-on-a-chip

A PODIUM presentation describing a ‘Human breathing Lung-on-a-chip for drug screening and nanotoxicity’ has been named as the winner of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS)’s 2012 innovation award…

10 Clearing the lysis bottleneck in forensic labs

HAMILTON Robotics reckons that a major bottleneck in today’s forensic laboratories is the manual lysis step, which is time consuming and creates a gap in workflows and. The company also says it has the answer…

LabHomepage is the indispensible internet resource for laboratory professionals, carrying news and information about the instruments, technology, and applications of science at the cutting edge of today’s industry


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