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Beckman, U of Birmingham Form Technology Collaboration

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Beckman Coulter has entered into a technology collaboration with scientists at the University of Birmingham, UK, establishing a collaboration to accelerate research into higher-throughput biology to support the University’s activities towards better protecting environment and human health.

This technology collaboration will focus on developing novel strategies to integrate Beckman Coulter’s world-leading automation platforms into OMICS workflows including genomics – by improving sample preparation for transcriptome profiling and DNA population sequencing on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms – and metabolomics, focusing on increasing sample throughput in both environmental and clinical mass spectrometry metabolomics studies.

Technological innovations resulting from this collaboration specifically target the safety and management of chemicals and nanoparticles in drinking water quality, human health and ecosystems, by transforming evaluation methods that require massive numbers of samples.

‘By industrializing the process of acquiring knowledge on how gene interactions and animal metabolism are disrupted by the tens of thousands of human-made compounds that can enter the environment, we hope to provide useful and predictive toxicological information to industry and policy makers for effective environment and health protection’, said Professor John Colbourne, University of Birmingham’s Chair of Environmental Genomics.

Other applications from this collaboration are expected to include early warning systems for infectious diseases and more rapid clinical diagnoses.

The collaborative activities are expected to include engaging in joint research projects, sharing samples and data that could lead to the development of higher-throughput technologies, exchanging know-how for improving hardware and software performance, promoting the training of graduate students, and publishing new methodology and scientific advances.

“The University of Birmingham scientists are at the cutting-edge of genomics and metabolomics research in the environmental, microbial and clinical sciences and are therefore an ideal team for Beckman Coulter to partner with to develop a variety of automation solutions for high-throughput omics biology” said Julie Moore, Director of the automation and genomics business unit in Beckman Coulter's Life Sciences Division.

‘The Beckman Coulter scientists share our vision to make ultra-high-throughput sample handling and preparation a reality’, said Professor Mark Viant, Chair of Metabolomics at the University of Birmingham. He adds ‘this is going to enable us to address challenges that previously have not been feasible in omics biology.’

‘We are excited to form a technology collaboration with Beckman Coulter’ said Professor Malcolm Press, the University of Birmingham’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer. ‘We anticipate that this program of innovative research will translate directly into improved technologies for healthcare and environmental diagnostics.’