FlowCam - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Automated Liquid Handling to Streamline Your FlowCam Workflow

The new ALH for FlowCamTM Automated Liquid Handling system is ready for deployment in your lab. Automated liquid handlers (ALHs) use robotics to perform sample processing and analysis with minimal human intervention. Automation reduces the time and effort required from operators to process samples and offers improved repeatability, safer lab operation, and increased productivity.  

ALH for FlowCam provides unattended analysis of up to 384 samples and is compatible with all new and existing  FlowCam 8000 series instruments, FlowCam LO, and FlowCam Cyano.  The ALH offers flexible hardware and a configurable deck platform that allow the instrument to meet each user's specific workflow requirements, including sample preparation such as mixing, dilution and heating/cooling, as well as instrument cleaning. 

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, News and Events, FlowCam Technology, Biopharmaceutical Research

White Paper: FlowCam Nano Provides Early Detection for Biotherapeutic Degradation and Contamination

Particles are ubiquitous in biotherapeutics and can drastically impact the efficacy of a given drug. Therefore, characterizing them is a critical step in biotherapeutic development, both to ensure samples meet particle limits set by regulations like USP <787/788>, and to maximize the safety and efficacy of the therapeutic.

New, innovative technologies may help researchers working with these therapies better understand the particles in their samples and, in turn, make more informed decisions about a sample’s quality. 

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, FlowCam Technology, Biopharmaceutical Research, Nanoparticles

Preventing Embolism from Medical Implants by Using FlowCam Imaging Particle Analysis

In a recent paper from Rostock University Medical Center, authors Anja Kurzhals et al. summarize a study they performed to determine the relevant morphological characteristics of particulates shed by a commercially available coronary stent delivery system. Flow Imaging Microscopy (FIM), also called Dynamic Image Analysis (DIA), was used to image and analyze particles produced during a simulated implantation of the cardiovascular device. 

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Topics: FlowCam Technology, User Spotlight, Biopharmaceutical Research

The Importance of Correct Aperture Settings in Submicron Particle Imaging

In microscope systems, the numerical aperture and the wavelength of the light determine how highly-resolved the images will be (in the case of microscopy, "resolved" refers to the minimum distance between particles where they can be recognized as distinct from one another). When using Flow Imaging Microscopy to analyze particles under 2 µm, clear images, accurate sizing, and consistent categorization are crucial, and all depend on the numerical aperture setting.

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Topics: FlowCam Technology, Nanoparticles

Characterization of Protein Aggregates and Other Particles in Biopharmaceuticals

Particulates are ubiquitous in parenteral drug products and remain a concern throughout their development and production. These particles must be monitored to satisfy USP particle reporting requirements (e.g. USP <788>). Furthermore, in biopharmaceuticals such as protein therapeutics, these particles have been associated with adverse impacts on the efficacy and safety of the product. FDA regulations strongly recommend in-depth characterization of the quantity and types of particles found in biotherapeutics.

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, FlowCam Technology, Biopharmaceutical Research

Announcing our 2022 FlowCam Aquatic Grant Program

The FlowCam Aquatic Research Equipment & Travel Grant is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 academic year. This popular equipment grant, now in its 5th year, provides an opportunity for graduate students and undergraduate faculty members to apply for the use of a FlowCam instrument for the semester of their choice, plus funding to attend a conference to present their work.

Pictured here:  2020 award recipient Savannah Mapes, a graduate student in the Reece Lab at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), using a FlowCam 8100.

Graduate applicants are eligible for a FlowCam 8000 (8100 or 8400) and undergraduate applicants are eligible for a FlowCam 5000.


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Topics: Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, FlowCam Technology, Aquatic Research

FlowCam Imaging: Spanning the Range from Submicron to Subvisible to Visible Particles

The recently launched FlowCam Nano extends well-established flow imaging microscopy technology for subvisible particle analysis into the submicron size range. With its unique ability to capture images and analyze particles from 300 nm to 2 µm in diameter, FlowCam Nano technology offers the ability to bridge the gap between different particle analysis techniques. 

FlowCam was originally invented at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (BLOS) in 1997 by Chris Sieracki, and at the time, it represented the world’s first imaging flow cytometer. It revolutionized the tedious and slow process of manual examination of phytoplankton via microscopy by providing a semi-automated method to rapidly count, measure, and analyze individual cells and particles in a fluid sample using digital images.  

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Topics: Marine Research, FlowCam Technology, Aquatic Research

New Applications for FlowCam in Biotherapeutic Development

Pictured above, protein aggregates, sucrose particles, and E. coli as
imaged by FlowCam Nano. Equivalent spherical diameter (in µm)
for each particle is shown below their image.

Many new types of biotherapeutic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) such as viruses, nanomedicines including virus-like particles and lipid nanoparticles, and cell-based medicinal products have recently experienced a significant surge in interest. Like proteins before them, formulations of these APIs contain particles that need to be characterized to ensure product quality and efficacy. Particle characterization technologies like FlowCam thus continue to play a critical role in developing and manufacturing safe biotherapeutics regardless of the API. 

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, FlowCam Technology, Biopharmaceutical Research, Nanoparticles

Meet FlowCam Nano: Submicron Particle Imaging and Sizing

We’re excited to announce the next-generation FlowCam Nano! The newest member of our FlowCam instrument family detects and images particles between 300 nm and 2 µm—the smallest objects visible by light microscopy.

FlowCam Nano can be used to determine the types of submicron particles present in samples, such as biotherapeutic particles or aggregates, drug delivery vehicles, bacterial cells, and other nanoparticles of interest. If not addressed, many of these smaller particles are prone to agglomeration into larger subvisible and visible particles. FlowCam Nano may be used to identify and mitigate these smaller particles before larger ones will form. Other species like bacterial cells inherently exhibit a size near or below the lower size limit of FlowCam 8000 and will only be detected by FlowCam Nano.

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Topics: Protein Therapeutics, News and Events, FlowCam Technology, Biopharmaceutical Research, Nanoparticles

2021 - The FlowCam Year in Review

2021 was a year that brought many changes to all of us. Among the most significant for the FlowCam team was the return to traveling for demonstrations, installations, training & services, and in-person conferences. Given the success of our remote training options, we continue to offer online training via FlowCam University and individual virtual demonstrations and training.  

Pictured at left, Applications Scientist Stephen Barton trains a team of new FlowCam users.

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Topics: News and Events, FlowCam Technology