How is it that fertilized chicken eggs manage to resist fracture from the outside, while at the same time, are weak enough to break from the inside during chick hatching? It's all in the eggshell's nanostructure, according to a new study led by McGill University scientists. The findings cou ... more
Detecting hundreds of proteins in a single sampleBarcoding technique offers cost-effective alternative to current technology
New technology developed by a team of McGill University scientists shows potential to streamline the analysis of proteins, offering a quick, high volume and cost-effective tool to hospitals and research labs alike.
Proteins found in blood provide scientists and clinicians with key information on our health. These biological markers can determine if a chest pain is caused by a cardiac event or if a patient has cancer.
Unfortunately, the tools used to detect such proteins haven't evolved much over the past 50 years - despite there being over 20,000 proteins in our body, the vast majority of protein tests run today target only a single protein at-a-time.
Now, PhD candidate Milad Dagher, Professor David Juncker and colleagues in McGill's Department of Biomedical Engineering have devised a technique that can detect hundreds of proteins with a single blood sample.
Part of their work describes a new and improved way to barcode micro-beads using multicolour fluorescent dyes. By generating upwards of 500 differently coloured micro-beads, their new barcoding platform enables detection of markers in parallel from the same solution--for example, a blue barcode can be used to detect marker 1, while a red barcode can detect marker 2, and so on. A laser-based instrument called a cytometer then counts the proteins that stick to the different coloured beads.
Though this kind of analysis method has been available for some time, interference among multicolour dyes has limited the ability to generate the right colours. Now, a new algorithm developed by the team enables different colours of micro-beads to be generated with high accuracy--much like a colour wheel can be used to predict the outcome of colour mixing.
Professor Juncker's team is hoping to leverage its platform for improved analysis of proteins.
"Current technologies hold a major trade-off between the number of proteins that can be measured at once, and the cost and accuracy of a test", Dagher explains. "This means that large-scale studies, such as clinical trials, are underpowered because they tend to fall back on tried-and-true platforms with limited capabilities."
Their upcoming work focuses on maintaining accurate detection of proteins with increased scale.
Scientists from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) may have cracked the code to understanding the function of special cells called regulatory T Cells. Treg cells, as they are often known, control and regulate our immune system to prevent excessive reacti ... more
With spring finally here and warmer temperatures just around the corner, snow will slowly melt away, releasing us from the clutches of winter. However, that's not the only thing that the melting snow will release. Researchers from McGill University and École de technologie supérieure in Mon ... more