The current drive to bring the lab to the sample is fuelling the development of portable analytical systems, suitable for use in a number of applications ranging from food to the environment.
To learn more about the benefits that portable analytical systems can offer, and the role that Trajan is playing in their development, we spoke to Stephen Tomisich, Director and CEO, Trajan Scientific and Medical.
AM: Can you tell us a little about the history of Trajan Scientific and Medical?
ST: Trajan began back in 2011 with a simple idea, that by using innovative science and technology we could create a company that would achieve success through delivering products that impact the world around us in a meaningful way. Our aim then, as now, is the creation of advanced analytical systems that are more powerful, more portable and more affordable than those currently available.
To achieve this goal, we set about bringing together a small group of companies - now established as brands of Trajan - that each encompass unique technical capabilities. We are collectively focussed on driving technologies, chemistries and materials to enable the development of portable and affordable analytical instruments.
Today, with our specialised technical knowledge in precision glass fabrication and surface treatments, chemical synthesis and separation solutions, tubing, connections and precision machining, we are actively engaged in technology and product development with a range of partners.
In parallel, our brands continue under the Trajan ‘umbrella’ to support end users in laboratories. For example, SGE Analytical Science has long served the scientific community with high-end, niche components for chromatography and mass spectrometry systems. At Pittcon this year, we launched a series of new SGE products, all with a common theme – making life in the laboratory easier and more productive. PEEKTite Ti-Lok EXP UHPLC Fittings, for example, offer an uncomplicated, easy to install and robust system that introduces finger tight connections to UHPLC users for the first time.
AM: Can you tell us about Trajan’s involvement in the ASTech project?
ST: In 2013, Trajan was selected as the sole commercial collaborator for ASTech, the ARC Training Centre for Portable Analytical Separation Technologies. This innovative collaboration is a partnership between the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and Trajan, combining research and industry knowledge to drive innovations in product design, development and manufacturing techniques.
At ASTech we explore science and technology that can lead to portable analytical separation systems to enable point-of-sample analysis for complex samples in food, environmental and clinical applications. Ultimately, the project’s work will enable those working in these fields to bring the lab to the sample. Any technologies developed by the program will remain the intellectual property of UTAS, but will be commercialized by Trajan, making the innovations available to the wider scientific community for the greatest benefit.
ASTech also sees us working with UTAS to train the next generation of industry-ready researchers. The program is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), which is committed to providing funding to encourage close partnerships between academia and industry as a means of providing state-of-the-art training for young researchers, and to drive the development of new technologies. To support our collaboration with UTAS, the ARC invested A$2.1 million to part fund the project.
ASTech has recently secured three top postdoctoral fellows to oversee innovative research programs. In addition, we also have a total of 10 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) PhD Scholarship positions, offering a fantastic career opportunity for researchers enabling them to gain unique and invaluable industry experience.
AM: What benefits will the development of more portable and affordable analytical systems bring to individuals and society?
ST: Our work has tremendous potential to benefit society in a wide range of clinical, food and environmental applications. Truly portable instruments bring many exciting possibilities. In future, we expect to see pain-free, easy, quantitative sampling at a patient’s bedside in a clinic, and self-monitoring of health and wellbeing indicators in the home.
In food and environmental applications, currently samples are typically transported to accredited laboratories for assessment. In the case of food items, produce may be transported to retailers before results are received; this can lead to costly product recalls if the goods fail to meet industry standards. In critical environmental incidents, delays in determining a contaminant and identifying the affected area will impede the deployment of effective remedial action.
Such delays could be avoided through use of portable systems for onsite environmental analysis and monitoring goods in a food transport vehicle, for example. You can then begin to see how portable analysis could aid improved patient care, enhance human safety and reduce industry costs, in turn benefiting the wider economy.
AM: Will there still be a need for laboratory based analytical services?
ST: Although one might presume that this trend towards more portable analytical tools will cause a reduction in laboratory-based measurements, we believe it is likely to have the opposite effect. We see that the future of analysis at the point of sample will actually increase the need for laboratory-based research and measurements driven by an increase in dispersed, localized data generation. Portable measurement doesn’t replace the lab; it becomes an input to it.
Here at Trajan we plan on maintaining our solid foundation with end-users in analytical and medical laboratories and organizations, by continuing to develop and deliver leading consumables and components through our brands SGE Analytical Science and Grale HDS.
Stephen Tomisich was speaking to Anna-Marie MacDonald, Editor for Technology Networks.