Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New technology for rapid protein analysis to Western Blot method … – ANALYTIC NEWS (press release)


Less time, less errors and easier handling: This promises a new technology for the analysis of proteins in laboratories. Tina Hovestadt received a Pioneer Fellowship ETH Zurich for this project

The Western blot is a molecular biological methods for the detection of proteins and belongs to the biochemistry of the standard:. In Europe alone, this test every day more than 6000 time performed. Its application ranges from the development of new drugs on the diagnosis of infections through to food control. However, the process is still very time-consuming and error-prone. About six hours long each individual experiment – where one out of four fails and must be repeated. That would Tina Hovestadt change. The 25-year-old, who cast her master thesis in Mechanical Engineering in June, is currently working on a device that is set to revolutionize the protein analysis

“Swissblot” is the technology for their development it has now received a Pioneer Fellowship ETH Zurich. These fellowships will have to support the goal of young researchers in the development of innovative products or services. The result is to serve society and can also be used commercially

error rate greatly reduced

The market is there. Throughout Europe it is loud Hovestadt at 50 million Swiss francs. For Swissblot to the researchers facilitate the procedures for protein analysis considerably by the two critical steps protein separation (“Running”) and Protein Transfer (“Transfer”) is reduced to a single step and automated. “This would reduce the time needed for handling strong and also significantly reduce the error rate,” says Hovestadt.

The scholarship of the Product Development Group at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering is engaged in the mechanical engineering aspects of the project. Her two teammates Raymond Buser, biochemists at the Department of Biology and Florian Rosenthal, cell biologist from the University of Zurich, the interdisciplinary team of biological expertise complement. But also the entire business plan from concept to distribution is one of them. Hovestadt: “The development of Swissblot involves many different issues Exciting I find topics such as potential partnerships, marketing or pricing strategy..”

Great potential

Detlef Guenther, vice president of research and Corporate Relations at ETH Zurich, is hope in the project: “Swissblot has set itself the goal of improving a technique frequently used in biology, which was carried out around the world for many years and always individually and manually applied,” says Günther. “This is very time-consuming, yet so far no scientist has obviously given some thought to automate this technique.”

The idea that you can significantly increase the reproducibility of blots, according Günther could lead to a very cause widespread use and have great potential. But for one must convincingly demonstrate that the new technology does not lead to a loss of information. “I wish Tina Hovestadt and the entire team that can be demonstrated quickly and convincingly succeeds.”

But how do you deal with the pressure to succeed, if one already developed at a young age a technology with so much potential ? “I see this project as a learning process,” says Hovestadt. “There’s no point to screw their own expectations to infinity In my opinion, it is the task of us engineers to develop solutions to problems – and about the Western Blot whine all..”

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Source: ETH Zurich

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