Pittcon: Mixing the old and the new

After attending the Biophysical Society Meeting in Boston last week, I am now in Chicago at the annual Pittcon meeting. For those of you do not know about Pittcon, the focus of the conference is on technology development for the fields of biology, analytical chemistry, and nanotechnology. Being so broad it should come as no surprise to learn attendance is usually quite large – around 17,000 attendees are here now. This year sessions have included advances in mass spectrometry, in vivo imaging, nanotechnology sensors and surfaces, vibrational spectroscopy, biofuels, nanomedicine, magnetic resonance and biomarker discovery/analysis along with an exhibit hall requiring a tram to move people between sections (more below).  Read more

Biophysical Society Meeting: A patch of déjà vu

Sunday afternoon at the 2009 Biophysical Society meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, I found myself wandering the aisles of the exhibit hall with an odd sense of “high-throughput patch clamping” déjà vu. Every row I walked down had at least one company demonstrating the latest in automated patch clamping instrumentation. Apparently, these automated approaches for patch clamping cells are becoming more and more common since their initial introduction in 2001 and here in Boston six different companies are showcasing their approaches. The systems range from being “adaptable” – capable of patching a range of cell types — to “high-throughput”— capable of patching up to 48 individual cells in 48 wells in a single run in their current versions but with a 96-patch system in the works.  Read more