By Wendy Sarubbi | November 26, 2012 10:45 am

The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences is purchasing new state-of-the-art equipment that will help researchers better study cell metabolism, which is linked to numerous diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders.

The ability to determine metabolic activity at the cellular level will enhance the research performed by many Burnett school scientists and increase the number of collaborative projects, said Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, who holds the College of Medicine’s Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences and directs research at the Burnett school. “Cutting-edge scientific research is dependent on having access to cutting-edge technology,” Dr. Parthasarathy said.

Dr. Richard Peppler, interim director of the Burnett school and associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, announced that the medical school will purchase two new pieces of technology to be shared  by faculty researchers.

  • The Seahorse XF Analyzer opens a window into the two major energy pathways in cells: oxygen consumption rate (OCR) or mitochondrial respiration and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) or glycolysis. The analyzer requires a small number of cells for testing and directly measures how live cells respond to stimulation and can assess metabolic signals in numerous cell types. In addition, the XF measurements do not destroy the cell, which means scientists can take repetitive measurements of the same group of cells and assess the effects of up to four different types of drugs. The analyzer will be located at the Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building at Lake Nona.
  • A high-speed fluorescence-activated cell sorter (called FACSJazz) sorts animal cells based on the presence or absence of pathogens and other infectious agents. The machine, which will be located at the Burnett school Annex, can separate more than 10,000 cells per second. “Researchers involved in the study of many diseases will benefit as the equipment will enable them to identify and sort cells based on their characteristics,” Dr. Parthasarathy said.

Burnett school scientists focus their research on cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases, the conditions that plague humanity. Scientists currently have shared equipment for flow cytometry, microscopy, protein characterization and histology. With the new high-tech metabolic equipment, scientists will have more opportunities to collaborate, be more competitive for grants and yield research results that could be published in high-impact journals, Dr. Parthasarathy said.

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