This month's issue of R&D Magazine focuses on the laboratory environment, with our cover story on laboratory enclosures for R&D facilities. Our editors also take a look at how laboratory automation is used to streamline life science workflows, trends in laboratory automation and trends in optical microscopy. This issue also features products that will be featured at Pittcon 2014.
Laboratories are like a living organism: They need to breathe to survive. Air exchange and...
In an editorial cartoon that appeared in a recent issue of The Journal of Clinical...
The biggest challenges many elite enterprises face are actually external forces completely out...
Stem cell research has been breaking ground in new application areas over the past few years, and it’s poised for even greater growth as more companies and organizations realize the potential. In the next decade, cell-based therapies will become increasingly common for cancer, immunological disorders, cardiac failure and other conditions.
Medical laboratory test results provide physicians with vital information needed for accurate diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients. An estimated 60 to 70% of all decisions regarding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory test results.
Laboratory automation techniques are commonplace, as they improve the accuracy and repeatability of laboratory operations, reduce human error in these operations and reduce cost of these operations. Defined as the use of technology to streamline or substitute manual manipulation of equipment and processes, laboratory automation offers solutions for enhancing workflows in various research laboratory environments.
Microscopy is growing at a rapid rate as the result of substantial investment in nanotechnology research. Advances in nanotechnology not only support advances in materials technology, they support developments in the semiconductor and medical devices industries. These billions of dollars drive support for advanced microscopy technologies, which are expected to become a $5 to 6 billion market globally by 2018.
As interest and investment in biopharmaceuticals grows, the pressure to innovate and rapidly deliver new therapies increases. While many avenues may be pursued, the high cost of developing biological molecules increases the need to advance only those therapies with the greatest likelihood of becoming manufacturable, efficacious, safe and profitable products.
Awareness of the benefits of gravimetric sample preparation has increased significantly over the past couple of years. Recognition of this state-of-the-art technology by industry organizations such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has supported this trend. A recent revision to USP chapter 1251 “Weighing on an Analytical Balance” included a detailed description of the steps involved in gravimetric dosing for sample preparation.
The benefits of flow cytometry are well known. The popular technique allows researchers to explore data on a cell-by-cell basis, as opposed to other analysis methods which only offer population-based or averaged information. In addition, flow cytometry can give users absolute percentages of what each marker or dye is reporting.
In this month's issue of R&D Magazine we announce and profile the winners of our annual Scientist of the Year and Innovator of the Year awards. We also feature our industry research executive roundtable which shows how changes in the R&D environment are driving research managers to look at different ways to support and grow their organizations. This issue also features articles on HIV disease research, diagnostic technologies, electronic test instrumentation and simulation software.
As part of its R&D 100 Awards program, the editors of R&D Magazine hold an annual roundtable discussion that addresses outstanding trends and issues in research and development. This year, the Industry Executives’ Roundtable, held Nov. 7, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., focused on industrial research, featuring executives from several organizations that invest heavily in R&D efforts. These organizations all won 2013 R&D 100 Awards.
In the late 1980s, when setting up his first laboratory, an asst. prof. of chemistry at the Univ. of South Carolina had a conversation with a scientist at IBM Yorktown, Avi Aviram, who had recently authored a paper speculating on a new type of perpendicularly shaped molecule that, if artificially created and equipped with active sensing points, could be used as a molecular switch for computing.
The first LCD television was invented in 1972 at Westinghouse in Pennsylvania. Like many important inventions, it didn’t become a common sight in the average home for several decades. It took the combined efforts of many researchers and several corporations to create a display of acceptable quality in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, another innovation helped set the stage for the proliferation of LCD displays: Multilayer Optical Film.
In early March, in a rural Mississippi hospital, an infant was born to an HIV-infected mother. The chances of an infant contracting HIV from an infected mother not receiving antiretroviral treatment is around 25% in the U.S., and this child was on the wrong end of that statistic. Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center HIV expert, knew that meant this baby would only have a 50% chance of living past the age of nine years.
In January 2013, an assoc. prof of biomedical engineering at Columbia Univ., Samuel K. Sia, developed a lab-on-a-chip technology that not only checks a patient’s HIV status with a finger prick, it also synchronizes the results automatically and instantaneously with central health care records. The technology, developed in collaboration with OPKO Diagnostics and called mChip, performs all ELISA functions, and produces results within 15 min.
Fume hoods are a central component in most laboratories. Whether designing a new laboratory or renovating an existing one, architects are challenged to incorporate safety, reliability and sustainability. These same issues hold true for laboratory managers when thinking about updating their existing equipment.
Virtually every laboratory has areas with elevated fire risks, with fume hoods being a primary concern. The presence of ignition sources, such as hot plates and Bunsen burners, the use of pyrophoric materials and the inherent volatility of the various chemicals and compounds that are commonly found in fume hoods all add up to a serious fire risk.
During the development of the transistor, which launched the computer age, oscilloscopes were a key tool for engineers and scientists who needed to understand the behavior of complex electronics. Now, computers are returning the favor by revolutionizing how test and measurement instrumentation, including oscilloscopes, is constructed and how it performs.
Multiphysics software simulations are used by biomedical equipment developers to reliably design complex mechanisms for enhancing the human physical condition. These medical devices can include tools for treating cancers, enhancing hearing and treating chronic back pain.
Innovation is improbable without proper funding, which is why R&D Magazine and Battelle Memorial Institute annually project how political developments and economic conditions around the globe will affect R&D support in the coming year. Now available, the 2014 R&D Magazine/Battelle Global R&D Funding Forecast offers a comprehensive analysis of the state of industrial research worldwide.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,” said astronomer Carl Sagan, who succinctly captured the essence of what it means to be a researcher. That wide-eyed sense that anything is possible through research and development, that’s the essence of a researcher’s calling.
Growth in global research and development funding slowed in 2013 from the pace of growth seen in 2011-2012. The 2013 slowdown was due primarily to unsettled European and U.S. economies that, in turn, affected global performance. R&D investments often are closely linked to GDP and economic outlook.
In the United States, R&D spending is likely to increase in 2014, turning the corner from near-zero growth in 2013. Federal funding is difficult to forecast because of the breakdown of orderly budget processes, but there are indications of bipartisan political support for increases or reallocations that favor R&D.
Federal R&D policy and implications of budget sequestration are the largest factors in funding for U.S. academic research, which has dropped from a recent high of 6% annual funding increases in 2011 to a forecast of 2% in 2014. Long recognized as an essential scientific foundation of U.S. innovation, academic research programs have been under pressure as a result.
For the past six years, the top ten countries funding R&D have remained mostly the same. There has been dramatic change, however, in the extent of globalization involved in research, as well as shifts in the way funds are spent. Driven in part by China’s aggressive programs, Southeast Asia has become the world’s largest region for research investments.
China has increased its R&D investments by 12% to 20% annually for each of the past 20 years; while at the same time, U.S. R&D spending increased at less than half those rates. As a result, China’s investment is now about 61% that of the U.S., and continuing to close.
With the large number of European Union member states, Europe’s research community is diverse in its economic composition and national interests, while central funding and administrative mechanisms allow coordinated operation of public research at a scale that is comparable to that of the United States.
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