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Archive for October, 2018

iGEM_Fatima

Second Interview with Nottingham iGEM Team

You may have read our previous article that explained how Don Whitley Scientific Limited became involved in sponsoring a team from The University of Nottingham that have entered The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation competition.

iGEM is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration. iGEM runs the iGEM Competition – an international team competition made up of predominantly undergraduate students interested in the field of synthetic biology.

We spoke to another member of the team – Fatima Taha (pictured left) – to find out more about what the competition means to her and how she believes it might help in her future career. Fatima is a 3rd year Human Genetics student and we asked her:

What role do you play in the iGEM team? I have 3 roles really: I’m part of the wet lab team, part of the fundraising team, and also team leader – so the person to go to if there are any problems or issues that require bringing to the attention of the supervisors.

Have you used the Whitley Workstation and what did you use it for? I use the Whitley Anaerobic Workstation all the time. We grow up Clostridium difficile and take time points, pick colonies, etc inside the workstation. The cabinet works really well for us.

What do you think you will get out of the competition personally?

I was taking a gap year and worked for a year in a laboratory at a hospital. I fell in love with the hands-on process in that lab and decided I really want to continue working in the research sector – in a clinical application or in academia.

It’s more than just a synthetic biology competition – there’s so much more to it. We are encouraged to collaborate with other teams and with other people generally. It’s about getting the word out there. I enjoy the whole exercise of looking to engage with people about synthetic biology; getting involved with schools on the subject.

I’m really enjoying the communications side of the whole project and have written four articles for a university website and student magazine. The multi-disciplinary teams involved have such different strengths and weaknesses but it all comes together – and that’s fascinating. Going forward I am sure this whole process will have enhanced my own skill set.

What are you most looking forward to about going to Boston?

Meeting the other teams and seeing what they are doing. We have been working on our project for so long now, I’m excited to see what the others have been doing.

Don Whitley Scientific is proud to help sponsor some of the students to attend the finale in Boston, which we hope will provide the additional networking, team-building and general interaction to help the students in their future careers.  We wish Fatima and the team the very best of luck in the competition and hope that The University of Nottingham team brings home the grand prize.

More About iGEM

iGEMers state that they are building a better world by solving problems with the help of synthetic biology. The iGEM Competition inspires nearly 6,000 students each year to work in teams to address unique challenges in their local communities.

They celebrate team achievements at the annual Giant Jamboree (24-28 October) by showcasing projects from participating teams and awarding medals, prizes, and the grand prize, the BioBrick trophies.

Their aim is to inspire responsible innovation through efforts in biosafety, biosecurity and public outreach.

iGEM Community

The iGEM community is made up of international trailblazers from over 45 countries around the world.

In 2017 iGEM launched the After iGEM program. This program supports over 30,000 iGEMers – students and instructors – who have gone through the competition since its inception in 2004. This global network is leading the field, taking what they learned in the competition and expanding it to continue to build a better world.

 

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Distributor Meeting Held at New Factory

Last week, DWS welcomed 38 representatives from over 20 different countries for the first International Distributor Meeting to be held at our new factory in Bingley. On the first night we held a welcome dinner, and as part of the evening there was a presentation to four of our distributors who had excelled in certain areas. Our special thanks and congratulations to VWR (Sweden), Lab Technologies (India), Cold Spring Biotech Corp (Taiwan) and Hua Yue Enterprise Holdings Ltd (China). Another award should go to our colleagues from AS1 Limited in New Zealand, who travelled over 11,000 miles to be with us!

It was a busy few days packed with sales and installation training on the WASP Touch and our hypoxic, anaerobic and microaerobic workstations. The meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for the distributors to get hands-on experience with our whole product range and to receive training from the people who design and build our equipment on a daily basis. One of the attendees commented: “Our thanks to you and all your colleagues for a brilliant couple of days and a superbly structured meeting which I’m sure will be very fruitful.”

As with our past meetings, we felt it was important to balance out the hard work with some fun and offer our guests a chance to socialise after the training sessions. Our evening entertainment included lots of delicious food and activities such as bowling, cheese-tasting, a magic show (courtesy of our wonderfully multi-talented sales rep, Stuart) and a musical performance from a local brass band.

Distributors_Oct18_Group PhotoWe are very grateful to the distributors who took time out of their busy schedules to attend, and for all of their hard work during the week. We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did and look forward to our next meeting!

Hollins_Oct18_Award_Labtech India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calibrating a Workstation to UKAS standards

UKAS Calibration and Temperature Uniformity in Whitley Workstations

ISO 15189:2012 Medical Laboratories- Requirements for Quality and Competence requires medical laboratories to have documented procedures for the calibration of equipment that directly or indirectly affects examination results. Equipment calibration is also beneficial for laboratories  without specific accreditation. For example in research institutions it demonstrates compliance with internationally recognised quality standards and increases confidence in test results. This principle is particularly applicable to temperature controlled equipment, such as incubators and anaerobic workstations, which may be used during the isolation, enumeration or identification of bacteria.

Benefits

The benefits of temperature calibration, and temperature homogeneity throughout the working volume of an appliance, are well understood for conventional incubators because variability in performance can affect the numbers, sizes and other visual characteristics of bacterial colonies growing on agar plates, as well as bacterial growth rates in liquid culture. Microbiologists are also beginning to appreciate the influence of temperature and other environmental parameters on the growth and viability of anaerobic bacteria.

Fastidious Anaerobes

An increasing number of our customers use anaerobic workstations to grow highly fastidious, poorly characterized anaerobes, which have been identified in complex ecosystems using molecular techniques but, until recently, have not been cultured. For example, there is considerable current interest in the bacterial species which constitute the normal human gut microbiota and the role of these organisms in human health. The growth requirements for many of these species are not yet fully understood. Ensuring temperature stability and homogeneity throughout the working area of an anaerobic chamber provides an additional level of assurance when working with fastidious anaerobes and removes a potential variable when attempting to optimize their growth and study their physiology.

Temperature Mapping

If your laboratory must demonstrate that temperature performance could directly or indirectly affect results, the temperature mapping process provides independent, UKAS-accredited testing and supporting certification. It confirms that the workstation temperature is controlled and displayed within specified tolerances. This process comprises calibration of the workstation temperature sensor and a comprehensive temperature profile of the entire working and incubation area. Data is collected from up to 12 sensors, traceable to national standards, positioned throughout the workstation chamber.

How we achieve a uniform temperature gradient in Whitley Workstations?

This is achieved through careful design of the product, optimising air flow and temperature control to achieve the lowest possible temperature gradient. Don Whitley Scientific has been designing and manufacturing modified atmosphere workstations for over 40 years so have a wealth of experience in this area.

DWS UKAS Service

In order to save you the cost of expensive call outs and project delays, we can often provide essential maintenance, schedule routine servicing and carry out your UKAS calibration/ validation work in the same visit. Whilst onsite, our engineers will not only take the time to explain the calibration procedure and why it is necessary but they will endeavour to provide your certification within 5 working days. This helps to make sure the whole UKAS process is as painless as possible for you and your staff.

Even if your laboratory doesn’t necessarily need UKAS accreditation, the cost is comparable with that of standard calibration. This means that for added peace of mind, UKAS calibration/validation could be a very shrewd investment. And because we can carry out any repairs or servicing at the same time, this can help avoid the cost of additional call outs and reduce down-time in your laboratory.

The technical expertise employed within Don Whitley Scientific for designing and manufacturing our own microbiology equipment provides an ideal background for our UKAS-approved calibration engineers.

Your queries answered – no obligation

If you have any additional questions about UKAS or would like any additional information about the benefits that this service could bring to your laboratory, please contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

T: 01274 595728  E: sales@dwscientific.co.uk  W: www.dwscientific.co.uk

 

What is UKAS?

UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) is the sole accreditation body recognised by government to assess organisations that provide reliable data and results for a defined set of tests. All assessments are made against internationally recognised standards.

DWS Accreditation

DWS is accredited to BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 for calibration activities. This means that we have been assessed by UKAS and are able to provide calibration and validation services for heat sterilisation equipment, temperature controlled processes and temperature indicators.

Parkside School

MD Speaks at Local School

Earlier today, Paul Walton (Managing Director of Don Whitley Scientific), gave a presentation to 180 thirteen and fourteen year olds at Parkside School, in Cullingworth, Bradford as part of a careers event. Paul stressed the importance of working hard at school and suggested students see school as a real investment in their futures – potentially ensuring they don’t spend a huge proportion of their lives in jobs they don’t like! He talked about the different roles at DWS and what students might need to study for roles such as these.

 

 

Paul gave some background information on DWS and the workstations that the company manufactures. He also spoke about the apprenticeship scheme at DWS, as one of the routes into manufacturing organisations.

Our thanks to Joanne Sykes, Assistant Head at Parkside School who organised the event in conjunction with Bradford Manufacturing Week.

Dan Partridge, iGEM participant

DWS Supports Nottingham iGem Team

Don Whitley Scientific Limited were recently approached by Professor Nigel Minton from the University of Nottingham requesting some sponsorship to enter a global competition. The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open, collaborative community. iGEM runs the iGEM Competition – an international team competition made up of predominantly undergraduate students interested in the field of synthetic biology.

We spoke to one of the team – Daniel Partridge (pictured below) – to find out more about the competition and what it means to him personally. Dan is a 3rd year BSc student studying Biotechnology. We asked him:

Can you explain the project you are working on? Our project centres on the Clostridium difficile bacteriophage. With the increase in antibiotic resistance, we need to develop a more precise method to attack the pathogen C. difficile, as this bacterium can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious bowel problems.

Do you play a specific role in the iGEM team? There are 10 students and five supervisors in the team. We started out with specific roles. There are three lab teams: two are trying to reduce toxin production of C.difficile using genetic engineering techniques – RNA interference and CRISPR dCas9 – and the third group is the promoter team (contribution). The non-lab teams look at human/outreach, financing, computing and modelling.

How many teams are in the competition? There are about 400 teams across the world.

What do you think you will get out of the competition personally? I am going into my 3rd year so the opportunities this competition will provide to get into problem solving and thinking-on-the-spot will be invaluable in my future career. With the sheer number of scientists that will be in Boston, it will be a fantastic networking opportunity. I understand that we may also be given the chance to look round the laboratories of some organisations in the area.iGEM team photo

Don Whitley Scientific recognises the importance of initiatives like this that strive to further scientific breakthroughs and we are happy to support the team. We wish Dan and the team the very best of luck in the competition and hope that their project brings home the grand prize. Click here to learn more about SBRC Nottingham.

More About iGEM

iGEMers state that they are building a better world by solving problems with the help of synthetic biology. The iGEM Competition inspires nearly 6,000 students each year to work in teams to address unique challenges in their local communities.

They celebrate team achievements at the annual Giant Jamboree by showcasing projects from participating teams and awarding medals, prizes, and the grand prize, the BioBrick trophies.

Their aim is to inspire responsible innovation through efforts in biosafety, biosecurity and public outreach.

iGEM Community

The iGEM community is made up of international trailblazers from over 45 countries around the world.

In 2017 iGEM launched the After iGEM program. This program supports over 30,000 iGEMers – students and instructors – who have gone through the competition since its inception in 2004. This global network is leading the field, taking what they learned in the competition and expanding it to continue to build a better world.

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2018 DWS Microbiology Prize Awarded

Earlier this year, we presented the annual Don Whitley Scientific Prize for Microbiology to the student who achieved the highest marks in Microbiology at the University of Bradford. The 2018 winner, Christiana Victoria Cismaru, gained a 1st Class Honours and said of her experience:

“I am honoured… this is a huge accomplishment for me, a reward for all the hard work and time I invested whilst at the University of Bradford. There was so much to learn… Choosing Medical Microbiology as my final year option allowed me to focus on the subjects I was most interested in and opened my eyes to current issues, such as emerging viruses and antimicrobial resistance; this has influenced me in choosing to pursue a research career in virology after graduation.”

Christiana will be going on to study for an MSc in Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses at Imperial College London and then hopes to pursue a PhD in the same research area; we wish her all the best in her future endeavours. She is pictured here with Dr Andrew Pridmore, Head of Science at Don Whitley Scientific and himself a recipient of the accolade in 1991.