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Research Team from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Wins 2010 BioFlux Innovation Award

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Fluxion Biosciences, Inc. announced that a research team from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has won the 2010 BioFlux Innovation Award competition. Laura Sycuro, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow in the lab of David Fredricks, M.D., authored the winning submission which focuses on screening and characterizing bacterial strains involved in biofilm-related infections known to affect women’s reproductive health.

As the winner of this year’s competition, the Fredricks Lab will receive a BioFlux 200 system to carry out their proposed studies. The BioFlux System will enable Fredricks’ group to further elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the condition known as bacterial vaginosis, which affects up to 25-30% of women.

Dr. Sycuro and her colleagues will begin with a panel of over 200 vaginal bacterial strains obtained from the NIH-sponsored Human Microbiome Project. Cell culture models will be developed to study these strains in vitro for the first time under controlled shear flow. The BioFlux system will allow the researchers to experimentally vary the species composition, order in which species are introduced, and environmental conditions in an effort to determine which are critical for biofilm formation.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to employ the BioFlux system in my research,” said Dr. Sycuro. “The high throughput and shear flow capabilities of the device will enable us to systematically investigate the formation of complex vaginal microbial communities with a level of sophistication and physiological relevance never before applied to this important ecological niche. These experiments promise to provide important mechanistic clues as to how bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis form drug-resistant biofilms and contribute to serious problems in women’s health such as cervicitis and pre-term labor. Ultimately, we anticipate using the BioFlux device to test the ability of novel drug compounds to disrupt these biofilms and more effectively treat bacterial vaginosis.”

The BioFlux System is a microfluidic platform for running live cell imaging assays in parallel using controlled shear flow. The system utilizes Fluxion’s Well Plate Microfluidic™ technology which offers the throughput and convenience of conventional multi-well plates with the added benefits of controlled physiological flow conditions, fluidic exchange, and low reagent consumption. Typical life science applications include cell invasion, migration, adhesion, chemotaxis, platelet adhesion and aggregation, wound healing, stem cell differentiation, and microbial biofilm formation.

“We’re very excited for Laura and the Fredricks Lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center,” commented Michael Schwartz, Program Director, “They proposed a very innovative use for the BioFlux system and the outcome of their research will certainly have a positive impact in the field of women’s health.”

The other finalists in this year’s competition included: Jean-Claude Bordet – University Hospital of Lyon (thrombosis), James Bryers – University of Washington (bacterial adhesion), Gulden Camci-Unal – Harvard / MIT (tissue engineering), Veronique Ollivier – Inserm (hemostasis), Tara Raftery – Clemson University (nanoparticle biofilm interactions), Traci Testerman – Louisiana State University (GI bacteria), Daphne Thijssen-Timmer – Sanquin Research (platelet production), Jianbo Wu – University of Missouri (angiogeneisis, leukocyte adhesion), and Barbara Vanhoecke – Ghent University (oral microbiology).