Health, sickness and healing are determined by biological structures so small that analyzing them in molecular detail often requires massive machines. This is about to change. Collaborating with researchers in the Copenhagen Science City-institution University of Copenhagen, Xenocs, a French producer of high-end research instruments, has developed a device promising to accelerate medical and biological research.
The collaboration confirms a recent analysis, showing that the Greater Copenhagen area is a global hotspot of protein research with investment potential.
Xenocs and Bente Vestergaard, professor at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences will present their brainchild, The BioXolver, at a reception on October 11th 2017. You can read more about the event here.
An in-house SAXS set-up
Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and almost all diseases are caused by faults in these proteins. For this reason, many medical researchers are hard at work determining the shape of proteins. Structure determination, as this process is known, usually requires going to massive multimillion-dollar research facilities abroad. The new device is not much larger than a household chest freezer, and will enable researchers to use the technique known as small-angle scattering directly in the lab. This will make the technique much more accessible and allow the scientists to accelerate their research.
With the BioXolver, Xenocs promises fast access to high quality information on the shape and dynamics of proteins in solution. The device analyses samples in volumes down to five microliters with small angle X-ray scattering. Thanks to advanced robot technology, it allows high-throughput. It automatically loads 192 samples and simply sends a text message when the results are available.
Available until the summer of 2018
Having contributed to the development of the device, Bente Vestergaard and her team at University of Copenhagen now hope to be able to keep it. That will require additional funding, but the team is optimistic, as the device could be useful in all manners of biomolecular research. Not least within dementia, where some of the fundamental molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood.
As things stand, the device will stay at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences until the summer of 2018. In order to derive the maximum benefit from the period, Vestergaard invites researchers from Copenhagen Science City-partners Faculty of Science and Metropolitan University College, as well as from the life science industry to co-create and collaborate using the novel X-ray equipment.