Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced that a program initiated by the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT) will provide undergraduates with access to the Thermo Scientific NanoDrop™ 1000 spectrophotometer. The GCAT program uses National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to purchase laboratory instrumentation, and encourages colleges and universities to adopt the use of DNA microarrays in their undergraduate curricula through student genomic research (bio.davidson.edu/gcat). With the help of GCAT resources, undergraduates design and perform experiments, ship their microarrays to a GCAT site for scanning, and then download and analyze their data. GCAT assists higher education institutions by providing essential analytical tools, free access to information and results through its web site, and email distribution list of more than 300 subscribers worldwide.
In response to faculty feedback at GCAT-sponsored workshops, GCAT began working with NSF to provide funding for additional instrumentation at undergraduate institutions. NSF has funded seven mini-grants of $14,000 each to support schools implementing GCAT research activities. During the 2007 NSF grant cycle of the program, GCAT received 35 applications for the initial seven grants. The Thermo Scientific NanoDrop 1000 was the only instrument which was requested by all seven of the funded schools.
According to Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell, founding director of GCAT and professor of biology at Davidson College, the NanoDrop 1000 eliminates a number of common problems for undergraduates. Its unique sample retention technology allows students to conserve precious samples, which can be time-consuming and costly to prepare. Using conventional methods, students would use up to 40uL of a sample which was not retrieved from the cuvette. As the NanoDrop 1000 does not require the use of cuvettes, wasted sample is reduced and the associated costs are eliminated. By installing the NanoDrop 1000, students have been able to significantly reduce the time spent on analysis as well as eliminate the need for costly reagents.
Campbell said, “There are two kinds of molecular biologists: those who have a NanoDrop and those who want one. The NanoDrop 1000 is ideal for undergraduates as it allows them to focus on science rather than on correcting mistakes due to older technologies. Training faculty and students takes only 30 seconds and the instrument’s simplicity enables undergraduates to use less sample and still quickly achieve reliable results.”
GCAT projects have replaced some student laboratory methods which are less prevalent in today’s research, such as manual DNA sequencing, and Northern blotting. To date, approximately 14000 undergraduates from 150 schools have analyzed over 7000 DNA microarrays through the GCAT program.
The GCAT program still has a number of challenges, including faculty training and providing undergraduates with access to microarrays and instrumentation. GCAT renewed four years of funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), enabling GCAT to buy and scan more chips for undergraduates. In addition, future NSF funding will enable GCAT to donate more laboratory instrumentation to eleven more schools where it is most required.
For further information on the Thermo Scientific NanoDrop 1000 Spectrophotometer, please call +1 302 479 7707.
About Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell and GCAT
Dr. Campbell is committed to working towards increasing the quality of undergraduate education and the diversity of scientists. He promotes the GCAT program to higher educations institutions, particularly those with under represented populations so their teachers can transform undergraduate education for future research biologists. Contact Dr. Campbell at maccampbell[.]davidson.edu for more information.
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About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With annual revenues of $10 billion, we have more than 30,000 employees and serve over 350,000 customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control settings. Serving customers through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, we help solve analytical challenges from routine testing to complex research and discovery. Thermo Scientific offers customers a complete range of high-end analytical instruments as well as laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents to enable integrated laboratory workflow solutions. Fisher Scientific provides a complete portfolio of laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. Together, we offer the most convenient purchasing options to customers and continuously advance our technologies to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, enhance value for customers and fuel growth for shareholders and employees alike.
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