Research scientists are at the core of new product development and innovation. Conducting practical experiments is one of a research scientist's most important tasks. In order to optimize and fast-track results, they need to be adept with both instruments and wet-lab techniques.
Lab supply marketplace ZAGENO invited three experts from over 5,000 supplier partners1 to share three wet-lab techniques every researcher should know. If you don’t have time to listen to the full-length 30-minute webinar featuring Nicholas Abuid (ACROBiosystems), Melissa Mulla (CELLTREAT) and Hazel Dickson (Waters), we’re sharing the highlights in this three-part article series in which we cover ELISA, cell culture, and chromatography techniques.
Technique #2: Cell Culture. Optimized results from cell-based protocols start by understanding what cultures need to help them grow and let them thrive. Scientists must “check in” with their cells and stay cognizant of the following.
- What's on the menu? Ensure cultures are receiving the ideal medium and pay special attention to any required, cell type-specific supplements. Determine whether cultures prefer serum. Then, optimize the percentage and source and identify if heat inactivation is necessary.
- Do the cells feel right at home? Be aware of temperature and CO2 drift, as even small variations in incubator calibration greatly impact cells. For suspension cultures, ensure rocking/rotation of any platforms are set to an appropriate speed.
- How friendly are the cells? Too few or too many cells can stress a culture and affect behavior. It is necessary to maintain confluence minimums and maximums and optimize seeding densities directly related to experimental duration.
- Do cells have the right vessel? The plastic of flasks, plates and dishes (polystyrene) is normally uncharged /neutral. Tissue culture treatment changes the structure of the plastic, giving it a negative charge, promoting attachment. This is achieved using a plasma gas method and not coatings. However, coatings such as poly-D-lysine or collagen may be added. Adherent cells usually prefer tissue culture-treated materials, while suspension cells may benefit from non-tissue culture-treated surfaces.
- Do liquid handling choices help mitigate risk contamination? Transfer volumes determine which pipetting tools are best for the current application. It is likely that your pipette tips are sterile, but your pipettor is not. Investigate options for pipette tip lengths, tube volumes, and shapes to keep out contamination.
3Would you like to improve your experiment results? ZAGENO is happy to connect scientists with subject matter experts to help with experiments in an advisory role.
Are you interested in learning more about applications and techniques that you can use day-to-day on the bench? Sign up to be notified of upcoming ZAGENO educational content webinars.