Zurich Instruments Supplies EU Project

Innovation for Better Life Science

The Department of Microsystems Engineering (University of Freiburg, Germany), has recently announced that it will lead a pan-European consortium of 7 research and industrial partners to develop an innovative platform for the manipulation and analysis of single living cells. The focus of the project will be the printing of such cells into confined micro-droplets as small as one tenth of a millimeter in diameter. The project is called PASCA – Platform for Advanced Single Cell Manipulation and Analysis – and is part of a research program funded by the European Union.

The process of printing cells is a hot topic in biotechnology research, and relates to the “blasting” of single cells onto specific locations, very much like ink-jet printers do on paper. Such technology will be essential in the future for the manipulation, culture and analysis of individual living biological cells. Until today, the handling of single cells has not been performed in a selective, isolated and systematic way. The innovative technology prototyped by PASCA will improve on current methods, and will be applicable for cell biology, stem cell research, cancer research, drug development and the fabrication of artificial organs.

Zurich Instruments, as the technology leader for the measurement of fast dynamic electrical signals, will contribute to the project with its unique impedance spectroscopy know-how. In particular, Zurich Instruments will supply its HF2IS 50 MHz Impedance Spectroscope to all research partners. With very high measurement speed, the HF2IS can detect very small variations in the electrical current between 2 electrodes immerged in a fluid, when a cell passes between the electrodes. The passing cell leaves a footprint that is captured by the HF2IS at several frequencies simultaneously, and permits the characterization, analysis and recognition of the cell. The high frequency and speed of the HF2IS are unique to the instrument, and allow researchers to perform measurements at much faster rates than with previously available instrumentation.

For further details, please see the press release of September 21, 2010 from the University of Freiburg. Additional information can also be found on the PASCA website www.pasca.eu.

Replies and comments to Stephan Koch, VP Marketing and Sales, Zurich Instruments, stephan.koch@zhinst.com, +41-44-5150415.

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