10 Questions With… Michelle Taylor (Part 1)

Michelle Taylor Laboratory Equipment MagazineOn this last day at  #pittcon15, we’re excited to introduce a new feature from The Pump Post, the “10 Questions with…” series, in which we interview notables from the science world. Please enjoy Part 1 of our interview with Michelle Taylor, from Laboratory Equipment magazine. Part 2 of this interview will be published on the final day of ACS Spring, March 24, 2015.

1. What is your role at Laboratory Equipment magazine?

I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Laboratory Equipment brand. The brand includes the flagship monthly print magazine, which has been published for over 50 years, as well the associated website and e-newsletters. It also comprises other print and digital supplements, including Chromatography Techniques, Academic Sourceguide and LabOutlook. It’s a neat position to be in because—forgive the cliché—I really do learn something new every day. Between research news published on our website daily, and my interviews with fascinating scientists and thought-leaders, it would be impossible not to learn. I feel like I’m in an interesting science class, and they pay me to attend rather than vise-versa!

2. What lab trends captured your interest in 2014?

One of the elements that became clear to me in the beginning of 2014 was the increased role of microscopy in the routine analytical process. Scientists need more precise high-res techniques, as evidenced by Eric Betzig sharing a piece of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his super-res microscopy techniques. With microscopy growing as fast and drastically as it is, I saw a lot of interest in hybrid and hyphenated systems in 2014. Microscopy was teamed with everything from an EDS spectrometer to a MALDI TOF/TOF in the battle to see and measure on an increasingly small scale. This dependence on and evolution of microscopy will only grow as imaging’s role in science is expected to skyrocket in the next decade.

Another trend was instrument miniaturization. While that has been an idea for a while, it became particularly evident in 2014 with compact spectrometers. Packing the capabilities of a spectrometer into an instrument just a tad bigger than the human hand is an incredible accomplishment. This will undoubtedly advance the idea of personal spectrometers for “home use,” such as checking your water to see if it is contaminated, as well as point-of-case applications in the clinical setting.

3. What are some of the biggest drivers for evolution in the industry? Is it a particular need from lab personnel? Better technology? New applications?

I see societal needs as the biggest driver of the science industry. Just as the commercial industry runs on supply and demand, the science industry reacts to what is happening around it. The changing climate is something we will have to adapt to, and it’s the scientists that will help us do that. Climate change encompasses numerous industries in science, but specifically, I think developments in food and energy will be biggest drivers for evolution.

Additionally, we will, of course, benefit from better technology—this trend will not stop for a number of years. We are in the middle of a technological revolution, so we might as well grab hold and reap the benefits. I am hoping we will see an increase in knowledgeable lab personnel, but I fear we may still be years away from that. As a country, I don’t think we have found the correct higher education formula to produce experienced lab personnel. But, hands-on programs, fellowships and internships are growing, so we’re headed in the right direction.

4. With 2014 in the books, do you have any predictions or expectations for the lab world in the coming year?

Absolutely. I expect this to be a big year for nanotechnology and biotechnology/biomedical. Nanotechnology is fast becoming one of the biggest industries we’ve seen in a while- the applications just keep growing. It deals with anything from water contamination to medicine to natural gas and petroleum. In 10 years’ time, I think nanotechnology research and breakthroughs will play a role in almost every aspect of our lives, whether it’s in the forefront (like e-screens) or in the background (like medication).

Biotechnology’s main capabilities lie in medicine, fuel and food, which also happen to be arguably the three most important elements of humans’ future existence. The baby boomers are all grown up now and experiencing a higher life expectancy than anticipated. Fuel is a problem on Earth and in space. We only just started making our own plutonium-238 to fuel our rockets, and political agendas raise questions about fuel to feed our cars. Fracking is a major controversy, as well as the Keystone XL. I expect science, specifically biotechnology, to play an increasing role in solving these problems. Lastly, “soon” there will not be enough food to feed the growing population. I think biotechnology will have its biggest impact here. The manipulation of food, or genetically modified organisms, is one of the only ways to ensure a safe, healthy food supply for years to come.

5. With the current economic climate within the laboratory industry, how do you see the impact of used equipment on the market?

Used equipment definitely has its place in the scientific market, as does new equipment. I view them as a kind of ying and yang. Both are important, and both are crucial to discovery and innovation. Used equipment always get more attention in times of economic distress (as it should) because for some labs, it provides the only alternative to keep going. That’s an important role to have, and it further emphasizes the impact used equipment can have on the market.

Enhanced Line of Liquid Laboratory Pumps

It’s day two here at #pittcon15 in New Orleans. If you are here at the conference and have not yet had a chance to stop by KNF booth #2211, please plan to do so. One of our features at this year’s show is the recently enhanced line of SIMDOS 10 liquid laboratory pumps.

KNF's SIMDOS 10 liquid laboratory pump

SIMDOS 10 pumps are ideal for metering and dosing applications in a number of professional and academic fields, including: chemistry, pharmaceutical, food research, and polymers, to name a few. SIMDOS 10 pumps offer lab personnel the ability to transfer liquids (up to 500 centistokes*) at flow rates of 1-100 mL/min, with dose volumes from 1 mL to 999 mL.

“While the SIMDOS 10 and SIMDOS 02 pumps can move liquids quickly and accurately, their real strengths are configuration and control options which can be matched to a user’s automation requirements and/or chemical profile” said Dan McDougall, Senior Manager of Laboratory Products at KNF. Indeed the SIMDOS pumps are designed to allow for convenient control of lab metering/dosing tasks which may be repetitive and redundant.

For example, new to this latest version of the SIMDOS 10 is a Cycle Metering Mode. “Say you’re performing an automated fill of vials on a conveyor belt…”, explains MacDougall. “You can program the SIMDOS to dispense a discrete volume into each vial with set pause durations in-between.” This new feature allows the user to set the number of cycles, the pause duration, and the dosing volume.

In addition to the added convenience of the Cycle Metering Mode, there are a few new control type options now available for the  SIMDOS 10. First, the SIMDOS 10 is now available in an RCP-version, which includes a RS 232 interface, enabling ASCII character control of virtually all pump functions, plus the ability to use programmable lab control software such as LABVIEW, or KNF’s free PC control software (available for download at knfusa.com). Next, an RC-version is available, which includes an RC cable for external control options such as a foot switch, or analog PC control. Finally, the standard S-version of the SIMDOS relies on the manual on-board interface with back-lit display for intuitive, push-button operation.

For a demonstration of the SIMDOS 10 and 02 lab liquid pumps, click the video below courtesy of Jean Delteil, KNF Liquid Pumps Product Manager; or stop by PITTCON booth #2211 for a live demo.

* Please visit knfusa.com/SIMDOS10 for detailed performance specifications.

Pittcon 2015: KNF Technology Enables Faster, Simpler Rotary Evaporation Process

Greetings from NOLA! The KNF Lab team is checking in from the #pittcon15 Conference and Expo, booth #2211, in balmy New Orleans, LA. Among the new products, applications, and all-things-lab we’re looking forward to seeing this week, it’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness about our own innovations and contributions to the scientific community.

KNF RC 900 rotary evaporator

KNF’s RC 900 rotary evaporator

While some exhibitors may be launching products sure to be marketed as the “latest and greatest” this year, KNF is providing a simple, yet time-saving update to our already well-received RC 900 rotary evaporator.

As is the foundation of our business, we’ve listened to the industry, and learned how we can make lab practices easier. This continued research led to the development of an upgraded memory system, which saves precious time in the lab. Even though we’ve seen the amazed faces the RC 900’s features cause, we’re proud to announce that this memory function will provide a new level of simplified rotary evaporation.

While rotary evaporation often requires numerous flask exchanges, the process parameters sometimes don’t change. The time required to exchange the flask and input the same parameters during each step could be well-spent elsewhere. To remedy this, KNF developed a memory feature for the RC 900, which saves the rotary evaporator’s current immersion depth and rotation speed. Pressing the button on the Bluetooth-enabled wireless remote control allows the flask to be changed quickly, easily and reliably during iterative processes, as the instrument automatically re-sets to the previous depth and speed. Consequently, lab scientists need to simply press the button, and the RC 900 will take care of the rest.

Learn more about the RC 900, or our full line of diaphragm vacuum and liquid pumps and systems for laboratory applications. And don’t forget to drop by the KNF booth this week!