Wednesday, 2 July 2014

NEW MACHINE FOR UWI – first of its kind in region

Chemical and Biological researchers at the University of the West Indies (UWI) have benefited from the donation of hi-tech, multi-featured, advanced equipment that will dramatically increase research accuracy and make room for the commercialisation of research done at the campus.

The equipment, the BioSpectrum Imaging System 810 Machine, valued at US$35 000, was
officially donated by the UWI (Cave Hill) Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. during a small presentation ceremony held at the campus last month.

Deputy Dean of the UWI Cave Hill Science and Technology
Faculty, Dr. Thea Scantlebury-Manning (sitting), demonstrates
one of the analysis capabilities of the BioSpectrum Imaging
System 810 Machine, which was donated by the UWI (Cave Hill)
Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Looking on are the Faculty’s
Dean, Dr. Colin Depradine (left), and President of the
donor institution, Patrick McDonald.
The equipment is a darkroom cabinet incorporating a light-tight darkroom with VisionWorksLS software and has the ability to achieve superior captured images with a high sensitivity, scientific grade cooled CCD camera carrying a 3296 x 2472 resolution.

Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Dr. Thea Scantlebury-Manning, during her presentation of the equipment and its benefits to research at the faculty, said that the machine would allow for greater automated and repeated imaging and research analysis of protein, DNA, RNA and any other derivatives of molecules, permitting researchers to tag them so that they could verify “where they are going, how they have changed, where they have ended up or how they have broken down”.

She remarked that in the absence of such a machine, the work researchers did to analyse tags containing chemiluminescent (Westerns, Northerns and Southerns), fluorescent, bioluminescent and colorimetric compounds was left with too much of a gap for human error and that there badly needed to be a way to reduce this through the use of research automation.

The BioSpectrum Imaging System is the first of its type in the region and, according to Dr. Scantlebury-Manning, would allow students to have the training and ability to do the level of research as was done in first world countries. “We now have the opportunity and the technology to do a lot of the cutting-edge molecular work for further advancement in the region...” she said.

The equipment allows researchers to do: ID lane analysis, Area density, Plant imaging, Molecular weights, Colony counting, Protein quantitation, and Western blot densitometry. (RS)

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