Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Cytation C10: An Evolutionary Tool for Revolutionary Research

More than 10 years ago, as a second-year graduate student, I eagerly completed an extensive, multi-day training to finally earn the right and privilege to independently use my PI's brand-new laser scanning confocal microscope.  I was incredibly excited to be able to visualize the intimate details of my healthy mammary acini and 3D models of breast cancer progression…but I was also intimidated by the multitude of ways I could damage the microscope, damage myself (lasers!), lose my data, or render my samples unusable—topics emphasized in the manual and during my training.  Fortunately, as I spent innumerable hours in that dimly lit room I gained comfort and expertise in confocal microscopy and ultimately enhanced my thesis with stunning visual validation of the detailed mechanisms described in my dissertation.

Despite the confocal expertise I developed during graduate school, when I began my postdoctoral fellowship, I went through the same rite of passage for admittance to the confocal core: restricted access, detailed training, endless warnings about risk to both the hardware and your right to use it.  Additionally, hours were logged to identify rule breakers and charge use fees to share the financial costs amongst the users.  Such training and cost-sharing requirements are not uncommon, nor are they unreasonable, given the cost to purchase and maintain a standard confocal microscope or confocal-capable high content screening (HCS) system.  However, this model can be limiting for research projects where confocality would be helpful for exploratory or early investigational assays. Confocal imaging is not a mandatory tool for successful research, but it is a powerful one, particularly as many researchers are moving toward three dimensional, physiologically relevant biological models where controlled depth of field and precise optical sectioning are critical for accurate analysis.  Often, the use of confocal microscopy enhances or informs the later stages of a scientific story, after screening and optimization have been largely completed.  It is frequently a tool of validation, not exploration.

As biological models get more complex, there is an increased need for benchtop tools capable of deeper interrogation at earlier stages of research.  As a bonus, can you imagine being able to get some instant gratification (or be able to make an informed pivot) on your next big idea?  Think of the potential of running a drug screen with monochromators for speed, and using a hit-picking protocol to identify and image wells of interest.  Then, after confirming the “big picture” with widefield images, you’d be able to immediately dig deeper using a confocal microscope, either live in a manual mode session, or with an automated imaging protocol to objectively evaluate your hits in exquisite detail – all on the same instrument, with the same samples.  Imagine that this instrument is small enough to fit on a bench in your lab, and is accessible enough you could entrust your summer undergrad to use it…

Now stop daydreaming!

This month, we are proud to announce the launch of the Cytation C10 Confocal Imaging Reader - a platform that pulls three powerful research tools into one small, accessible footprint.  Building on the legacy of the Cytation family of imaging readers, the Cytation C10 offers monochromator-based detection, five widefield imaging modes, and spinning disc confocal imaging in one place; a single instrument to enable project evolution from screening to mechanism. Furthermore, features such as color bright field imaging and our new AutoROI module (which can identify regions of interest with low magnification, then switch to high magnification for detailed imaging) help to complete your scientific story with histological evaluation, all in one instrument and one software program.

BioTek has always sought to bring products to our customers that will revolutionize their workflows.  The Cytation C10 is an affordable, multidisciplinary tool that represents the next level of BioTek innovation helping our customers to “Think Possible.”  How will you leverage the unique toolset presented by the Cytation C10 to streamline your workflows?  My colleagues and I on the Field Application Scientist team can’t wait to help you discover the possibilities.


For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures. 



By: BioTek Instruments, Diane M. Kambach, Ph.D., Manager, Field Applications Scientists

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