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


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Dr Andrew Dempster from the SBRC, University of Nottingham, using a Whitley A95TG anaerobic cabinet

SBRC Uses 12 Whitley Workstations in Anaerobic Clostridia Research

Almost 100 researchers at the Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Nottingham work with anaerobic organisms. To accommodate their high workload, the group has 12 Whitley Anaerobic Workstations.

We spoke to Dr Andrew Dempster, pictured left working in an A95TG Anaerobic Workstation, who said: “the stable anaerobic environment provided by these cabinets – with our heavy usage – allows us to carry out reliable and reproducible work at the SBRC.”

The group utilise Clostridium sporogenes to develop novel cancer therapies and also work with anaerobic pathogens such as Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium difficile.

Dr Dempster’s work focuses on certain key members of the human gut microbiota and how they relate to Clostridium difficile; an opportunistic gut pathogen which is able to colonise and cause disease after a patient is treated with broad spectrum anti-microbials, resulting in the depletion of normal gut microbiota.

It is believed that certain gut microbiota play key roles in preventing C. difficile infections, and the group is working to characterise these mechanisms and enhance their therapeutic potential through molecular methods.

To learn more about the research the SBRC is conducting, watch this 2 minute video:

Whitley Workstations Installed at the University of Oxford

DWS Product Specialist, Paul Harrison, unloading the i2 Instrument Workstation at the Chemistry Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford
DWS Product Specialist, Paul Harrison, unloads the i2 Instrument Workstation

Our team recently visited the Chemistry Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford to install a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation, paired with an i2 Instrument Workstation which will house a Seahorse Analyzer used by the McCullagh Group in the Department of Chemistry.

Professor James McCullagh is the Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Facility and his group’s research focuses on developing mass spectrometry and separation science applications at the interface between chemistry, biology and medicine.

This involves comprehensive identification and quantification of small molecules in complex natural systems from the isolation and testing of plant natural products to investigating changes in metabolism associated with diseases such as cancer.

Understanding how metabolism changes in disease can lead to new therapeutic targets and innovative ways to diagnose, treat and monitor disease.

The H35 Hypoxystation along with the i2 Instrument Workstation will be heavily utilised in the study of cell and tissue metabolism under hypoxic conditions with various collaborations both internally and externally.

These studies can be carried out under varied oxygen tensions which range from 0.1% to 20% and can be adjusted in increments of 0.1% in the H35 Hypoxystation.

The i2 Instrument Workstation provides the ideal environment as it cools the Seahorse device with 0% CO2 for optimum performance as well as providing an atmosphere where cells and tissue can be incubated at physiologically relevant conditions.

The combination of the two workstations allows an easy flow of plates from the H35 Hypoxystation to the i2 Instrument Workstation.

Although a small detail – the wireless foot pedals operating the vacuum for the sleeves have proved to be a big hit for the team for ease of use and as a preventative measure for trip hazards!

The features of the H35 Hypoxystation and i2 Instrument Workstation will be paramount in enabling Professor McCullagh’s team to conduct their research under hypoxic conditions.

Holly Proctor, Engineering Apprentice at Don Whitley Scientific

An Interview with Holly Proctor: Don Whitley Scientific’s First Female Engineering Apprentice.

How did you hear about the DWS apprenticeship scheme?
I came to DWS for work experience and spent some time in the production department, but it wasn’t really for me. I liked the look of the engineering workshop and asked if I could spend the rest of my placement in there; I really enjoyed it and that was when I found out about the apprenticeship scheme and decided to apply.

What do you do at DWS?
I help with programming and maintaining the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, and manufacture components for external customers as well as components used in DWS products.  

Why did you want to work at DWS?
I really enjoyed my time during work experience, so hoped I would be accepted for the apprenticeship scheme – but I did look at a few other engineering companies just in case. One in particular was a huge corporation and I realised I didn’t want to work somewhere that big; I felt much more comfortable with the smaller team at DWS and thought it would give me more chance to shine.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
I enjoy the variety of being able to switch between the mill and lathe machines, and I like seeing a block of raw material transformed into something else and knowing that I made it happen.

Do you have a role model who inspired you to follow this career path?
My dad was a mechanic, but sadly he passed away when I was quite young. Part of me wanted to try it out as a way to make him proud; along the way I realised that I really enjoyed it too!

What advice would you give to other girls who might be thinking about a career in engineering but are worried about entering a male-dominated world?
Just go for it! I was the only girl in my technology class at school, but I really enjoyed it so would encourage anyone who’s interested to give it a try. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it.

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.

Highlighting Hypoxia: Hypoxystation User Publications in Tumour Metabolism

Poldip2 is an oxygen-sensitive protein that controls PDH and αKGDH lipoylation and activation to support metabolic adaptation in hypoxia and cancerParedes et al.

By performing hypoxic studies in their Whitley H35 Hypoxystation on a variety of cell lines, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia have found that a protein with a previously unknown function (polymerase -δ interacting protein 2 (poldip2)) actually plays a key role in mitochondrial function and cell metabolism.  They have shown that lipoylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase and α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (αKDH) complexes is a dynamically regulated process that is inhibited under hypoxia and in cancer cells to restrain mitochondrial respiration.

By exposing cells to varying degrees of oxygen tensions in their H35, they were able to show that poldip2 is down-regulated by hypoxia. In addition, they were able to show that by forced expression of Poldip2, respiration increased and the growth rate of cancer cells decreased.  Further work needs to be done with Poldip2 especially in discovering its relationship with HIF-1α, however this work is a great addition to the body of knowledge we have about tumour metabolism.  All this is thanks to the researchers at Emory University and their H35 Hypoxystation. To view the paper, click here.

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.

LINX 10: The World’s First Truly Portable CIJ Printer…

The LINX 10 is a market-leading Continuous Inkjet Printer. Designed for printing batch codes onto petri dishes and glassware in slow and medium speed production lines, it can print 2 lines of text, symbols and numbers with a print quality superior to other entry-level coders. Extremely compact and easily transportable, it is also equipped with unique features such as image based code selection and an automatic line speed sensor.

At only 11kg, it is more than 50% lighter than comparable models, and takes significantly less time to install. Every LINX 10 is supplied with a 1L pack of multi-purpose ink, 5L pack of blending fluid and a maintenance pack as standard. Fluids are contained in sealed cartridges which simply click into place – no mistakes, no waste and no mess!

Available as an option for the APS One Pourer Stacker; the LINX 10 offers a robust coding solution at an affordable price. To arrange a demonstration, please contact us here.

Did You Know DWS Distributes Tuttnauer Autoclaves?

Tuttnauer autoclaves have been specifically designed for laboratories in the microbiology, pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries. They have also been designed to provide high quality, repeatable performance and documentation for laboratory applications and quality assurance processes.

Don Whitley Scientific is proud to distribute these machines in the UK, offering both vertical and benchtop models. The vertical range caters for volumes between 31-160 litres and the benchtop range between 28-160 litres.

As the name implies, benchtop autoclaves are designed to fit neatly onto the laboratory workbench, whilst vertical autoclaves are larger, freestanding devices that come complete with castors for ease of movement.

A range of options are available to tailor your autoclave to your specific needs, including fast cooling (up to 75%), super-fast cooling (up to 90%), efficient air and moisture removal, efficient heating, complete drying and a biohazard and waste system.

Optional fully comprehensive maintenance and service contracts are available to prolong the life of your investment and reduce downtime, and optional calibration and UKAS validation is also available.

For more information, please refer to the brochures on our website, or if you would like to speak to a Product Specialist to discuss your requirements please contact us here.

vertical autoclave

Tuttnauer vertical autoclaves

benchtop autoclave

Tuttnauer benchtop autoclaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Charity Fundraising Update for 2018 & 2019

Yorkshire Air AmbulanceEvery year Don Whitley Scientific chooses a local charity to support, and in 2018 we put our efforts to raising money for The Yorkshire Air Ambulance. With the help of a variety of raffles and bake sales held throughout the year, we are delighted to announce that we have raised £1,200 for this wonderful organisation and a cheque is now on its way.

For 2019, we have decided to support the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, in memory of our friend and colleague, Steve Whitley, who tragically and very unexpectedly passed away at the end of 2018 whilst being treated at Leeds General Infirmary.

The son of our chairman, Don Whitley, Steve was the mastermind behind the renovation of our new facility in Bingley, and his efforts over the past few years to create a truly state-of-the-art facility for us leaves behind a legacy which will benefit the company for many, many years to come. We miss him greatly, and hope that the money we raise in his name this coming year will assist The Leeds Teaching Hospitals in continuing to provide high quality patient care, and research in all fields of medicine.