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Archive for November, 2018

Clinell Manufacturers Choose A35 Workstation

We recently installed an A35 Anaerobic Workstation at GAMA Healthcare’s new state of the art
facility in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The company are best known for manufacturing Clinell
disinfectant wipes; one of the largest wet wipe suppliers to the NHS in the UK, and also exported to
over 50 countries worldwide.

Along with a growing number of our Anaerobic Workstation users, GAMA Healthcare is seeking to
cultivate Clostridium difficile – a harmful bacterium which infects the bowel and causes diarrhoea.
Growing these bacteria will allow the team to test the efficiency of the cleaning regime offered by
the Clinell wipes.

Pictured below with their new A35 are Mark Hallinan, Natalie Maguire and Evelina Cesnauskyte.

GAMA Healthcare Install photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nottingham iGEM Team Win Gold Medal!

Words and pictures provided by the University of Nottingham:

iGEM Team

The University of Nottingham’s 2018 iGEM team have been awarded a prestigious Gold Medal and were nominated for ‘Best New Composite Part’ at the recent International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston, USA.

It is the first team from Nottingham to win a Gold Medal, which was awarded at the iGEM Jamboree event in Boston on Sunday 28th of October 2018.

iGEM

The iGEM competition began in January 2003 and currently attracts over 400 teams, from more than 45 countries and annually exceeds 5000 global undergraduate and post-graduate student participants. Teams use the principles of synthetic biology, the “Engineering of Biology”, to design biological parts, devices or systems to address a real-world problem or to perform a novel, previously unseen function. The best ‘parts’ of every project are then submitted in the form of a ‘BioBrick’ to the iGEM BioBrick registry for use by others.

University of Nottingham's iGEM team

University of Nottingham’s iGEM team

The Team

Nottingham’s team was composed of ten undergraduate students drawn from the Schools of Life Sciences, Biosciences, Computer Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences. For the duration of their project they were embedded within BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at Nottingham, under the overall guidance of Nigel P Minton and Philippe Soucaille and under the close supervision of a dedicated multidisciplinary team comprising Louise Dynes, Daphne Groothuis, Dr Christopher Humphreys, Dr Carmen McLeod, Dr Michaella Whittle and Dr Craig Woods.

Clostridium dTox

The team’s innovative synthetic biology project, Clostridium dTox; it’s not so difficile, aimed to develop a novel therapy for the treatment of disease caused by the superbug Clostridium difficile, colloquially known as C Diff.

C Diff infection is the most common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in the Western World and is a big problem in hospitals and healthcare-facilities. The disease symptoms are caused by the release of two major toxins, TcdA and TcdB by the bacterium. Under normal circumstances, a healthy gut microbiota prevents the proliferation of C Diff. However, when these good bacteria are obliterated by the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, C. difficile proliferates and causes disease. One way to counter the expansion in numbers of toxin producing C Diff is to use competing strains that are not producing toxin as a probiotic.

The project’s aim was to engineer a C. difficile bacteriophage to produce factors that would suppress toxin production. The strategy adopted was to repress expression of both toxin genes (tcdA and tcdB) by targeting their mRNA using either antisense RNA (asRNA) or CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) technology (dCas9). The ultimate goal is a C. difficile-specific bacteriophage therapeutic which ablates toxin production in those cells that are infected with phage, converting them into health promoting probiotics. Unlike antibiotics, phage cause no collateral damage to the native gut microbiome.

The team was also nominated for ‘Best New Composite Part’. A composite part is a functional unit of DNA consisting of two or more basic parts assembled together. These must include all characterisation information and be added to the Registry.

Human Practices and Public Engagement

The team devised a number of activities that explored how Clostridium dTox could impact society. This included mining and carrying out a sentiment analysis of data from hundreds of social media comments on an online phage therapy video and exploring the current legislation surrounding phage therapy. They also researched what makes C. difficile such an important issue to society and how their project can help make a positive impact on communities by working towards the development of a novel therapy for its treatment. Finally they held a discussion group with non-scientists, and interviewed five leading scientific experts in the field, including the UK Public Health England lead on C. difficile infection, to understand how the team could make their project as effective as possible.

Public engagement was an important focus for the team, which developed hands-on workshops to communicate the project in local schools, libraries and to staff and students at the University. The team members have also been busy promoting their project via a range of social media platforms as well as by publishing articles in a local newspaper and in the University of Nottingham’s Impact Magazine.

Gold Medal

All of these aspects enabled the team to produce a project of high enough quality to win a Gold Medal at the Giant Jamboree, recognising the fulfilment of all the competition criteria. The Gold winning team members were; Lucy Allen, Hassan Al-ubeidi, Ruth Bentley, Sofya Berestova, Eun Cho, Lukas Hoen, Daniel Partridge, Varun Lobo, Fatima Taha and Nemira Zilinskaite.

“This was a tremendous achievement considering the short time that the team had to design, build and test the parts needed for the innovative project they devised. We broke new ground for iGEM by engineering a strict anaerobic bacterium, rather than the more traditional chassis other teams focus on. This was made possible by the extensive skills and expertise available through the involvement of SBRC researchers who gave so much of their free time to supervise the team”. – Nigel P Minton, SBRC Director, Nottingham

“Doing iGEM has given me a holistic understanding of the synthetic biology process. Coming from a Computer Science background, I had no knowledge of the science prior to iGEM, but working alongside talented team-mates meant that I left with a much better understanding of our project. I feel that my communication skills have improved since starting iGEM, as it has allowed me to interact with students and experts from many disciplines”. – Hassan Al-ubeidi, UG Computer Science.

“iGEM was an exciting challenge. As the sole modeller for our team, I improved my ability to work independently to research and solve problems. I learnt how to communicate my work in a way such that those with less technical knowledge can understand. Attending the Jamboree and seeing other projects made me appreciate the power of synthetic biology to build a better world”. – Ruth Bentley, UG Mathematics.

What the Judges Said

“Great project, great wiki!! You just light up so many questions in my mind and actually this is the key of synthetic biology! Thank you so much for your effort and all hard work!”

“Super interesting idea to use temperate phages for this! …. You are clear on your achievements and reasoning throughout, which is super refreshing. Great effort!”

“Really terrific modelling efforts! I really liked how thoroughly your work was documented on your wiki; everything was very clear.”

“Overall the project idea was very innovative, and you have great characterization on your parts. Good job!”

“Very impressive! It is very inspiring that your project used phage therapy, RNA interference and the extended application of CRISPR/Cas technology.”

“Amazing job, I hope that you continue this project.”

Sponsors

Nottingham’s iGEM team was generously supported by the University of Nottingham’s Research Priority Area in Industrial Biotechnology, through grant funding from the Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) via the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, by generous cash donations from Don Whitley Scientific Ltd, LanzaTech and Seres Therapeutics and through in-kind support from Qiagen, Millipore Sigma, Promega, Eppendorf, New England Biolabs, LabFolder and Snapgene.

Collaborators

The team also wishes to acknowledge support provided by the following collaborators: Team Biomarvel Korea and the teams from Imperial College London and the University of Warwick.

sponsors for Nottingham iGEM

Range of Large Hypoxic Workstations to Accommodate Laboratory Instruments

Abrupt changes in temperature and oxygen levels can significantly alter the many oxygen-sensitive signalling pathways that sense and react to the cellular micro-environment. Don Whitley Scientific have developed a range of hypoxic workstations large enough to accommodate many instruments which would previously have been confined to the bench; minimising the need to transfer cells between bench and workstation which would result in exposing them to raised levels of oxygen.

The H135 HEPA Hypoxystation and i2 Instrument Workstation have larger footprints and optional shelving to provide ample space for both instrumentation and culturing. The removable front facilitates transfer of equipment in and out of the workstations. Precise control of temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity mimic the physiological environment, ensuring true in vivo cell behaviour.

Working with manufacturers of diverse laboratory instruments, Don Whitley Scientific have validated a number of options for analysis and imaging of cells:

Whitley H135 HEPA Hypoxystation

* Incucyte® live-cell analysis: the Incucyte ZOOM comfortably fits inside the H135, enabling real-time quantitative study of growing cells inside the hypoxic incubator environment

* Microscopes: a range of microscopes can be placed inside the controlled workstation environment, allowing users to image cells during incubation

* Seahorse XFe Analyzer: a modified version of the H135, the i2 Instrument Workstation, has been customised to accommodate the specific requirements of the XF Analyzer for metabolism assays.

We are happy to discuss your unique sizing and environmental needs; please contact us today to discuss any custom requirements.

What our users are saying:

“Due to the utility of having the Incucyte S3 live imaging system inside our H135 Workstation, we have expanded our collaboration portfolio exponentially. We have performed cancer biology, immunology, neuro and vascular physiology, and many other types of experiments in our system under controlled atmospheric conditions. The large volume of the H135 is key to having enough room for both the imager and sufficient workspace to carry out experiments.”

– Dr Adam Case, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Cellular and Integrative Physiology,
University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE.

 

PaCMAn Course Photo

Practical and Clinical Microbiology of Anaerobes Course 2019

A 2 day residential course delivered by The UK Anaerobe Reference Unit, Public Health Wales, Cardiff

11-12 June 2019

Is it time to refresh your knowledge on the culturing, identification and clinical importance of anaerobes?

Do your staff want to learn from experts about the latest technologies and techniques?

• Recognised by the IBMS & RCPath CPD approved (11 credits)
• Invaluable preparation for FRCPath

Only 26 places available. 

Cost: £375 + VAT (£355 + VAT for SAM members) which includes: one night’s accommodation at the Jurys Inn Hotel, Cardiff, breakfast, lunches and refreshments plus dinner on 11th June.


Feedback from previous delegates has been very positive with the majority rating it ‘excellent’ overall. Participants particularly enjoyed the friendly and informative course atmosphere with comments including:

“The course was brilliant and really informative. Staff were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly”

“I really liked the practical sessions and was very impressed with the lectures”

“I have acquired new and improved knowledge to take back to my laboratory”

“The mix of lectures and lab practicals added variety and interest”

“Great course, will be recommending to fellow colleagues”


Practical Session

Practical Session at the 2018 Practical and Clinical Microbiology of Anaerobes Course

For more information, please visit the Don Whitley Scientific website
www.dwscientific.co.uk/practicalmicrobiologycourse/

To reserve your place on the Anaerobes course, please request a booking form by contacting:
Deborah Robinson at Don Whitley Scientific Limited on 01274 595728/sales@dwscientific.co.uk

Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.