Thursday, May 21, 2009

Live from Beckman Coulter Big Bang Event

I'm here at the Embassy Suites in Rosemont, IL for the big event. I'll post some updates as the day progresses, and possibly a few pics as well. There's a pretty decent turnout, maybe about 50-75 people. We're just getting underway! More later.

0913: Picomotor driven laser steering optics for fine tuning laser alignment...awesome

0914: Gallios = Research Instrument, Navios = Clinical Instrument.

0917: A vendor has talked about instrument "sensitivity" without quoting MESF detection threshold values...There really is a God! It's good to see my ranting and raving has not been in vain.

0924: The boulevard. Coulter's answer to the "Octagon". 18 degree reflection system which minimizes light loss.

0930: Definitely some nice innovation on the light scattering front. "Enhanced FSC" mode allowed resolution of 0.4um beads from noise as well as from 0.5um beads.

0948: FCS file is packed with all the necessary information to reproduce the experiment. (MIFlow?, XML compatible?)

0958: PROService - Remote diagnostic of software/hardware issues. Can control laser picomotors for remote alignment.

1045: Why we are getting a lecture on tandem dyes is beyond me, but oh well, at least I can get some work done in the
meantime. Hopefully we'll get back to the instrumentation soon.

1105: Kaluza - Named after German Mathematician and Physicist Theodore Kaluza

1355: By the way, Kaluza is awesome. Super snappy! Eats up large data files like nothing. Still not too sure about the fancy new tools like Radar, but it could be useful.

1410: MoFlo XDP overview. pretty much what you'd expect. The one nice thing is Intellisort II, which is basically a 1-button stream setup and drop-delay calculation. It does everything from setting the frequency, drop drive amplitude, phase, drop delay, everything.

1530: The MoFlo Astrios - Pretty much an attempt to automate many of the tasks needed to set up the MoFlo. 7-pinholes, 6-way sorting. Interestingly, the 7-pinholes take up the same vertical space as the 3-pinholes did on the MoFlo-XDP. This basically means that the beam height must be really small (~10um high?). So does a fully loaded system not have huge amounts of crossbeam spillover? Even after appropriately ordering the beams (e.g. put the UV next to the 640nm, and keep the 488nm away from the 532nm, etc...) there is still going to be some problems. I can only imagine that the hope is most people will want a 4 or 5-laser system at most, and then they can stagger the lines a bit more. What's the likelihood one will want to run all 7 lasers at the same time...probably pretty low. the 7-pinhole thing may simply be a marketing tool, but I could easily be proven wrong once I see some data. Hopefully later this year then.

1600: That's about all. Hopefully if you weren't able to attend, you got a peek at what went on here. signing off.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Never orphan your data again.

Picture this, you just finished running your samples on the Canto in R409, you've exported your data to the BDExport folder, and you reach into your pocket. Dang! You forgot your USB drive. You could walk all the way back to your lab in Billings in the pouring rain, but wait, you can just email the files to yourself. So, you log into the University's webmail system compose your email to yourself, attach your zipped folder of FCS files and you click send only to get a error that the file is too big to be sent over the University's network. What to do now? Do you just chance it and hope the computer doesn't crash before you come back tomorrow with your USB drive? I know I wouldn't. There is one other thing you can do. You can use NSIT's web-based file storage and sharing service. That's right, just by being a member of the University with a CNET ID, you can put up to 50MB 1GB of data on a server share and then pull it down at your desk. Just visit and log in with your CNET and Password and voila, instant "USB Drive." Now grant it, it's not a ton of space, and it should really be 50GB, not 50MB 1GB, but, in a pinch, it may help. By the way, the powers that be can see/read whatever's on the server, so don't put any unencrypted personal information on there. Update: When I logged in, it was actually showing 1GB of space not 50MB like I had originally thought. YIPPEE!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Annual Core Fair, Thursday 5/14/09, Free Food!

Well, it's that time of year again. The Office of Shared Research Facilities (OSRF) is hosting its annual Core Fair this Thursday from 12:00 to 1:30 PM in the Gordon Center Atrium. Technical Directors and staff from over 21 core facilities will be available to discuss services, hand out literature and display posters featuring Core capabilities. The Flow Facility will have a table set up to showcase some of its new toys and services including information on its newly upgraded FACSAria II, its 4-laser LSRII, the new 561nm laser line on the MoFlo, and perennial favorite, the BioPlex. So you'll definitely want to stop by and get any and all your questions answered on how the techno-savvy core facilities can assist you in your research. As always, if you have questions regarding the services available from any core facility, visit the OSRF web site at, and for any questions regarding Flow Cytometry Instrumetation and Services, you can certainly contact us or visit our web site (if you're not already there) at