DON WHITLEY SCIENTIFIC – THE LEADING INTERNATIONAL SUPPLIER TO THE MICROBIOLOGY AND TISSUE CULTURE INDUSTRIES


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Dr Don Whitley, receiving his Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Bradford in 2009

Don Whitley Dies at the Age of 89

The directors of Don Whitley Scientific Limited are very sad to announce that Dr Don Whitley, founder and chairman of Don Whitley Scientific Limited, died on Thursday, 28 February 2019 after a short illness.

Taking a keen interest in the company’s product development projects up until a few weeks before his death, Don would have celebrated his 90th birthday this coming June. 

Within a few hours of his death, tributes began to arrive from all over the world. He was generous with his time, supported many scientists in the early years of their careers, was widely travelled and had many, many friends. 

Born in London in 1929, the family moved to Leeds in 1940 because Don’s father was employed in the tea industry, which was dispersed throughout the country during the Second World War.

Don wanted to train as a doctor, but was dissuaded from doing so by his parents. Don initially joined the staff of the Hospital for Women in Leeds as a student Medical Laboratory Technician. For ten years he worked at Leeds Maternity Hospital and Killingbeck Hospital.

In 1956 Don joined Oxoid Ltd, now owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific, as a technical representative, covering North East England and, later, the Republic of Ireland. Other sales and technical roles in several companies culminated in his appointment as Technical Director of the Bydand Group.

In 1973 Don and a Bydand Group colleague formed LIP (Equipment and Services) Ltd. Then, in 1976, with the proceeds of the sale of his minority shareholding in LIP, Don and his wife, Pam, started Don Whitley Scientific in the spare bedroom and basement of their home in Shipley.

For over 15 years Don drove product development projects that resulted in numerous innovations and in the steady growth and development of the business. He possessed an ideal blend of scientific and engineering knowledge, natural curiosity and wide-ranging interests. He is named on 24 national and international patents. He “retired” and became company chairman in 1992 when Paul Walton (his son) became managing director. Don retained a strong interest in product development activities and was consulted frequently, although he was no longer involved in the day-to-day management of the business. He attended key conferences and scientific meetings and events – and was held in high regard by many influential individuals in our industry. As an indication of Don’s stamina and zest for life well into his 80s, he and Pam embarked on a three month overseas tour over the winter of 2014/2015. They visited distributors and customers in Dubai, India, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore during the trip of a lifetime!

The company he founded now employs 89 staff and owns the majority shareholding in subsidiaries in Germany and Australia.

Ironically, had he become a medical doctor he may not have contributed to improvements in public health and the understanding and treatment of cancer in anything like the same way as he did, all over the world, through the company he founded.

In 2009 Don was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Bradford, acknowledging a lifetime of achievements in applied microbiology.

In accordance with Don’s wishes there will not be a funeral. He requested that his body be left to medical research at the University of Nottingham Medical School. A celebration of Don’s life will take place later in the year.

Don was married three times and had seven children. Two sons, two grandsons, a granddaughter and a great-grandson work within the company he founded.

Sree Ambal and Lars Nordbruch with the Whitley A35 Workstation

A35 Welcomed in Malaysia

Customer Sree Ambal of KPJ Lablink Central, Kuala Lumpur is very pleased with her new Whitley Workstation. Here she explains how they have moved to the A35 from using jars and have significantly improved their results:

“The Whitley A35 Workstation is very user friendly, easy to use and is equipped with important features, eg the ability to monitor the level of oxygen in the chamber.

We can also record temperature level and oxygen level in the chamber. There is an alarm system that will alert the user if the oxygen level increases inside the chamber. The airlock system features a double door, which ensures the system is truly anaerobic before the user starts their work.

More importantly, there are tremendous changes in our results from when we used jars. Almost every day we are reporting anaerobic organisms now that we are using the A35. This workstation has made a real difference and we are now very confident in reporting anaerobic organisms.”

Sree is pictured here with DWS sales representative, Lars Nordbruch who visited with Dilip Gasper, our Malaysian distributor from Jenawi Saintifik Sdn. Bhd.

Clostridium difficile studies can be done in a Whitley Workstation

Anaerobic Workstations; Why Bigger is Better!

Anaerobic workstations offer precise and reliable atmospheric control, more stringent anaerobic conditions and consistently low running costs. One of their greatest advantages is that culture plates can be inspected at any time without disturbing the incubation conditions. In clinical laboratories, this has been proven to increase the isolation rate of anaerobic pathogens and also provide the earliest possible indication of their presence in a patient’s sample.

Don Whitley Scientific has excelled in meeting the needs of microbiologists for over 40 years, and as our customers’ needs have evolved, so too have our products. The unique Whitley Internal HEPA Filtration System is an extremely attractive feature, particularly when used in conjunction with research applications as it ensures that all of the atmosphere inside the workstation is passed through the filter hundreds of times an hour.

Over the past few years, an increased demand for using microscopes and other instruments such as the Workstation WASP Touch under anaerobic conditions resulted in the introduction of the A135 HEPA (pictured below); currently our tallest, widest, deepest workstation with a huge internal volume of 560L. The A135 is fitted with a removable front to facilitate thorough cleaning, easy replacement of the HEPA filter, and the transfer of bulk samples and larger pieces of equipment for use in the workstation. Other features include a built-in rapid airlock, integrated gas control and automatic commissioning cycle. To read the full specification and see the extensive list of factory-fitted options, please click here.

KU Leuven in Belgium were one of the first customers to purchase an A135 HEPA, and we asked them to describe the work they are doing and how this workstation has benefited their research:

A135 HEPA

“One of the key research activities in the Raes lab involves the isolation and culturing of gut anaerobes to study their metabolic and genomic properties and, ultimately, to unlock their biotherapeutic potential in human health and disease. In order to scale up these isolation efforts, we aim to move beyond conventional approaches based on agar plating and explore the application potential of novel, miniaturized, and high-throughput technologies. For testing a recently developed millifluidics-based single-cell sorting device, we soon realized that the operational space in our current DWS A35 HEPA anaerobic workstation would be insufficient. Therefore, we brought together product specialists from millifluidics and DWS to constructively discuss technical details on required dimensions, operator access, power supply, connection to an external PC, possible interference of the workstation’s pressure and the device’s heat output as well as safety aspects. This guided us towards the purchase of the DWS A135 HEPA, which is probably one of the best options currently on the market for the anaerobic integration of medium-sized pressure-controlled devices while still offering sufficient operator space and incubation volume.”

– Geert Huys, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Rega Institute, KU Leuven & VIB Center for Microbiology, Leuven, Belgium

For one of our UK customers, however, 560L was still not big enough. They approached us in early 2018 and asked if we could build something even bigger! Always keen to rise to a challenge… Don Whitley Scientific is pleased to announce that in early 2019 we will release the first A155 HEPA Anaerobic Workstation. This exciting new product will offer all the same advantages as the A135, but with the added benefit of over 1000L of capacity. More information on the A155 will be made available in due course.

If you would like to speak to one of our sales team about our range of anaerobic workstations, or to arrange a demonstration, please contact us here.

Whitley Workstation stress toy in Notre Dame

2019 Photo Competition Announced

Would you like to win a £100 Amazon Voucher? Then you need to take part in the Don Whitley Scientific 2019 photo competition! You may have seen, or may already be the proud owner of one of our anaerobic/hypoxic workstation stress toys which we give out at exhibitions – to be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is take a picture of your mini workstation in an impressive location (e.g. Notre Dame!) and send it to us.

There will be a Summer prize awarded on June 3rd 2019, and a second chance to win the Winter prize which will be awarded on 2nd December 2019. In addition to each receiving a £100 Amazon voucher, the two winners will also have the unparalleled honour of seeing their winning photos framed and displayed on our reception wall for all to see.

Pick up your mini workstation from a Don Whitley Scientific exhibition stand, or ask your Sales Representative to bring one in on their next visit. Get creative, and get started!

Upload your photo to Twitter, follow and tag us @dw_scientific or email it to us at sales@dwscientific.co.uk and tell us your name, where you work, and where the photo was taken.

 

Please ensure that all images submitted are decent, respectful, obtained legally, do not infringe copyright and do not result in any damage to a structure or object. DWS staff are not permitted to enter this competition. Maximum 3 entries per person, per competition. 

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 4 remaining spaces 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.

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.

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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Whitley Hypoxystation

The Leukemic Stem Cell Niche: Adaptation to “Hypoxia” Versus Oncogene Addiction

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are responsible for constantly maintaining and replenishing the supply of new blood and immune cells. They give rise to both lymphoid and myeloid progenitor cells, which then proceed to differentiate down their respective paths to form various specialized cells such as erythrocytes, macrophages, B and T cells, to name a few. Within the body, HSCs are found to reside in extremely low oxygen environments called stem cell niches (SCN). Like all other regulated cell cycles, HSCs can lead to cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma if cell division becomes uncontrolled.

MEL (a), Kasumi-1 (b), or NB4 (c) cells were incubated in atmosphere at 0.1% O2 and lysed at the indicated times, and total cell lysates were subjected to immunoblotting with the indicated antibodies. GAPDH, H4, or ARD1 were detected to verify loading equalization. Migration of molecular weight markers is indicated on the left (kDa). For each cell population, one out of three independent experiments with similar outcome is shown.

Figure 2: Suppression of oncogenic proteins driving non-CML blood neoplasias in the course of cell “adaptation to hypoxia.” MEL (a), Kasumi-1 (b), or NB4 (c) cells were incubated in atmosphere at 0.1% O2 and lysed at the indicated times, and total cell lysates were subjected to immunoblotting with the indicated antibodies. GAPDH, H4, or ARD1 were detected to verify loading equalization. Migration of molecular weight markers is indicated on the left (kDa). For each cell population, one out of three independent experiments with similar outcome is shown.

In this paper, Cheloni et al. primarily focused on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The authors hypothesized that suppression of the BCR-Abl oncogene is likely a key positive regulator of LSC survival within “hypoxic” SCNs. To analyse the various mechanisms and responses that CML cells demonstrate within SCNs, the authors studied correlations between varied oxygen and glucose concentrations with the amount of BCR-Abl produced. All tests were performed using two human CML cell lines, K562 and KCL22. Testing conditions were precisely controlled to mimic the SCN environment as close as possible. Using a Hypoxystation supplied by Don Whitely Scientific, a water-saturated atmosphere comprising of 0.1% O2, 94.9% N2 and 5% CO2 was generated and maintained.

The research conducted and documented by Cheloni et al. has provided great insight into several key regulatory mechanisms associated with leukemic stem cells as well as an explanation for their notorious reputation for having high relapse rates. Additionally, they established that the triggering of oncogene suppression associated with CML is due to severe energy restriction rather than simply the “adaptation to hypoxia.”

The Don Whitley Scientific Hypoxystation provides the user incredible flexibility as it can control oxygen down to 0.1% while providing a temperature and humidity controlled environment with ample working space. The extreme precision provided by the Hypoxystation was critical to the collection of accurate and reliable data when recreating the demanding environment that comprises SCNs. The atmosphere is constantly monitored and adjusted by the real-time feedback system to ensure accuracy and ISO class 3 clean room HEPA filtration is also available for long term cell culture applications.

Choose your atmosphere with the Hypoxystation hypoxia chamber. Accurately control O2, CO2, Temperature and Humidity.   

Hypoxystation is the only hypoxic chamber purpose built for physiological cell culture research. Specifically designed to create normoxic, hypoxic and anoxic conditions within a controlled and sustained workstation environment, this hypoxic incubator is ideal for research requiring the ability to accurately control O2, CO2, temperature and humidity. The Whitley Internal HEPA Filtration System provides a particle-free internal environment that exceeds ISO 14644 class 3 clean atmosphere.  With such accurate control and the ability to manipulate cells in situ without altering the incubation environment, research into cell biology can be performed over a comprehensive range of oxygen tensions with precision. Don Whitley Scientific offer the following range of Hypoxystations:

                                                                                   

Hypoxystation H35

Hypoxystation H45

Hypoxystation H85

Hypoxystation H135

i2 Instrument Workstation

Application possibilities for Hypoxystation are endless; it is being used for research into tumour microenvironment, hypoxia pathways and HIF signalling, in vitro modelling of in situ environments, cancer cell metastasis, angiogenesis, and many other fields where cells may benefit from a more physiological atmosphere.