Thursday, September 25, 2014

There is Nothing Like a Deadline to Give One a Little Focus

Dr. Norman Alpert, who was not only the founder of BioTek Instruments, but also the chairman of the physiology department at the University of Vermont for nearly three decades, once said to me "There is nothing like a deadline to give one a little focus". This statement was made during one of the many chats we had over the years. You see, Dr. Alpert would, on at least a weekly basis, stop in my office on his way from the University to BioTek and talk science. Sometimes the discussions were regarding the research his lab was doing or possibly a project at BioTek I was working on, but often it was just some interesting topic of the day. That particular day the discussion was about his NIH grant renewal that he was working on.

Now here was a man who was at the top of academic science, and also the chairman of a multimillion dollar company. One would think he was the most organized person on the planet and as such deadlines would never be an issue, but the fact that he made this statement just a week before a substantial NIH grant proposal was due made me realize that everyone deals with deadlines in pretty much the same way. Humans itemize the numerous tasks they need to accomplish based on some sort of priority; only as a deadline for the task approaches does it become prioritized high on the list.

Throughout his career, Dr. Alpert was able to accomplish many things by focusing and meeting deadlines. Part of meeting deadlines is having instrumentation that you can rely on to be accurate and dependable. In the course of his research Dr. Alpert had to design reliable instrumentation to fit his needs, yet be affordable. From this need, BioTek was born.

Dr. Alpert passed away a number of years ago, but that reliability and affordability is still built into all BioTek products. None more so than our newest imaging plate reader, the Cytation 3, which has its own ability to focus. This reader has been designed to automatically focus and make digital microscopic fluorescent images in microplates. Besides temperature control and a number of different fluorescent wavelength options, reagent injectors and CO2 and O2 gas control are available for live cell experiments. I think that Dr. Alpert would have been pleased with this instrument.



By: BioTek Instruments, Paul Held, PhD., Laboratory Manager

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