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MRS Fall 2015 announced
The Materials Research Society has announced its Fall 2015 meeting, for Nov 29 – Dec 4, 2015 in Boston, MA, with one symposium (Track K) for materials science, technology and devices for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Note the call for papers and the diverse and impressive lineup of invited speakers presenting research substantially aligned with the scope of the NCI IMAT program.

Funding opportunity for Innovative Research in Cancer Nanotechnology
The NCI is offering new grant awards (up to $450k/yr for up to 5 years; multiple receipt dates) for multidisciplinary studies proposing to expand the fundamental understanding of the processes pertinent to the use of nanotechnology in cancer research and clinical care (PAR-14-285). These Innovative Research in Cancer Nanotechnology (IRCN) awards will be an integral part of the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program.

Best Practices in Cell Culture Workshop
The NCI Physical Sciences-Oncology Network Bioresource Core Facility (PBCF) at ATCC is holding its 5th Annual Workshop on Best Practices in Cell Culture, July 21-24, 2015, Manassas, VA. The workshop will be taught by scientists at ATCC. You are encouraged to enroll your trainees who have had limited cell culture experience for this one-of-a-kind workshop.

  • Date: July 21-24, 2015
  • Who should attend: Trainees with little or no prior experience in basic cell culture techniques
  • Cost: No cost for the workshop (airfare, hotel and incidentals are not covered)
  • Register: email Dr. Yvonne Reid at NCI-PBCFContract@atcc.org

Please email Dr. Reid by COB (local time) Wednesday, June 3 to indicate interest.

This 4-day workshop employs an integrated approach – utilizing hand-on training to reinforce lecture material, enabling PS-ON trainees to translate cell culture techniques into applications in their own laboratories.

Topics include the following hand-on laboratory techniques:

  • Best Practices in Cell Banking
  • Implementing aseptic techniques
  • Expanding cell cultures (suspension, adherent)
  • Verifying cell line identity (STR DNA profiling, COI DNA barcoding)
  • Testing for microbial contamination
  • Cryopreserving and storing cells

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories, Inc. introduces IMAT-supported INLIGHT™ Glycan Tagging Kit
The INLIGHT™ glycan tagging kit developed by the David Muddiman Group in collaboration with synthetic chemist Daniel Comins at the North Carolina State University with IMAT support, represents the latest in glycan labeling technology for the relative quantification of N-linked glycans by mass spectrometry and a valuable tool in the emergent field of glycomics. The INLIGHT™ (Individuality Normalization when Labeling with Isotopic Glycan Hydrazide Tags) strategy utilizes the novel hydrazide, 2-(4-phenethylphenyl)acetohydrazide, in Light (natural 12C) and Heavy (13C6) labeled forms to readily derivatize N-linked glycans for analysis by mass spectrometry.

The Cambridge Isotope Labs INLIGHT™ glycan tagging kit provides Light and Heavy hydrazide reagents and maltoheptaose with detailed instructions on the tagging reaction. The INLIGHT™ glycan tagging kit includes a detailed protocol for N-linked glycan release, purification, tagging, and LC-MS analysis of Fetuin and RNase B glycoproteins, accompanied by comprehensive data sets. In addition, the INLIGHT™ glycan tagging kit can be applied to complex N-linked glycome samples. Contact the CIL Proteomics Product Manager for a detailed protocol exemplifying the INLIGHT™ quantification of N-linked glycomes derived from plasma.

IMAT-supported investigator named finalist for Innovation of the Year at the first annual SLAS meeting
Dr. David Beebe, a professor of Bioengineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an investigator at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, has been recognized at the first annual Society for Laboratory Automation & Screening (SLAS) meeting as a finalist for the Innovation of the Year Award for his breakthrough IFAST technology. His Immiscible Filtration Assisted by Surface Tension (IFAST) platform is a transformative new technology that allows researchers to isolate nucleic acids for analysis via a streamlined extraction process that eliminates all washing steps. As the SLAS meeting represents a merge of the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) and the Society for Biomolecular Sciences (SBS), Dr. Beebe's recognition becomes the third time an IMAT-supported investigator has been recognized for this award, and thus for pushing the boundaries of science through technology innovation (see prior news updates for past recognition of IMAT-supported investigators).

ThermoScientific to distribute IMAT-supported Iuvo™ technology in their Cellomics high-content analysis platform
The Iuvo™ platform line (available from Bellbrook Labs) are microchannel cell-based assays developed by Dr. David Beebe (with two phases of IMAT support) at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research. In early February 2012, Bellbrook Labs and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc announced an agreement under which Thermo Fisher will be distributing two of the Iuvo™ products for use with their Cellomics instruments. This agreement will result in broader access to the technology by the research community, and is a testament to the transformative potential of this unique innovation. Congratulations to Dr. Beebe and everyone on the Iuvo™ development team!

TransGenomic Corporation Accelerates Acquisition of IMAT Funded Technology
Transgenomic has announced that it has licensed a high-sensitivity mutation detection technology called Cold-PCR from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston.

This variation of the standard PCR technology enriches mutations in DNA samples and is a much more sensitive technique for finding low-level mutations in tissue and body fluids that are involved with a variety of diseases. Cold-PCR was invented at DFCI by Dr Mike Makrigiorgos, an multi-award IMAT grantee, who has demonstrated its effectiveness in enriching for mutations in cancer-related genes in samples where standard DNA sequencing is not sensitive enough to detect these very low concentration somatic DNA mutations. Read more about Cold-PCR technology here.

RiboMed Receives $150,000 Epigenetics Research Contract to Continue Work Funded through IMAT to Develop Better Detection Technologies for Cancer
RiboMed Biotechnologies, Inc. recently announced the receipt of a $150,000 Phase I contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop bisulfite-free, DNA methylation based diagnostic assays for prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancer. “This contract allows us to continue work that we started last year with NCI funding through its Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies Program (IMAT),” said RiboMed CEO Michelle Hanna. Read the press release here.

Two Individual IMAT Investigators Leverage Technologies To Receive Prestigious NIH Director's Transformative R01 Awards
Two IMAT investigators who have developed specific technologies through the program have continued to succeed in leveraging those technologies to meet scientific needs and applications within other NIH programs.  Dr. Benjamin Cravatt from the Scripps Research Institute and Dr. Shohei Koide from the Unversity of Chicago both successfully received recent Transformative-R01 awards as part of the NIH Roadmap/Common Fund focusing on high-risk, high-impact research. Read more about the NIH Common Fund and Transformative-R01 mechanism here.

Pointers for the new NIH application format
NIH has restructured the application instructions and forms beginning on January 2010. These guidelines apply to all IMAT Funding Opportunities for 2010. As described on http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov/page_limits.html, the one page "specific aims" section is separate from the "research strategy" (6 pages for R21s, 12 pages for R33s). For all IMAT R21's, please briefly describe the proposed quantitative milestones in the specific aims section and justify the milestone within the research strategy section. Quantitative milestones describe a technical goal for a specific aim. For example, if your technology is proposed to be more specific than the current state-of-the-science, then the quantitative milestone would reflect that goal - as well as a technical plan for developing the technology in pursuit of that milestone.

As a reminder, please keep in mind that IMAT only supports the development of a technology and does not support traditional hypothesis-based projects. Hypothesis-based projects are those whose aims are focused on answering a biological/clinical question, rather than applying science in the development of a technology.

As an additional note, if you downloaded an application package prior to January 21, 2009 - please discard that copy and download a newly updated version. The newer version should include the PHS 398 Modular Budget form.

IMAT Investigator / Technology Wins 2008 “Innovation of the Year” Award
James Landers, a professor of chemistry and mechanical engineering and an associate professor of pathology at the University of Virginia, was recently recognized with the 2008 Innovation Award from the Association for Laboratory Automation ( ALA ) for his novel Microfluidic Genetic Analysis (MGA) technology. Landers' unique device resembles a common microscope slide, but it houses the analytical tools of an entire laboratory.  Vastly complex and distinct procedures take place within millimeters of one another in tiny troughs that are etched into the chip. Minute tissue or blood samples are placed into the chip and electric charge is applied to the samples—for electrophoresis—to separate out particular sections of DNA based on what type of diagnosis is needed.  Once the DNA is separated, it is replicated on one portion of the chip and then pushed to yet another area to be screened for irregularities.  This lab-on-a-chip technology may enable rapid detection of cancer and infectious diseases, and at a fraction of the cost of current tests.

Two IMAT Technologies Featured in 2 Separate Issues of Science
Two IMAT technologies were recently featured in the journal Science. A handheld, ultra-portable device that can recognize and immediately report on a wide variety of environmental or medical compounds may eventually be possible using a method that incorporates a mixture of biologically tagged nanowires onto integrated circuit chips, according to one article written and published in the January 2009 issue of Science by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University

In a similar feature, two-time IMAT grantee David Beebe, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, was interviewed for his work on microfluidics in the November 2008 issue of Science. The article is entitled “Microfluidics: Bringing New Things to Life Science”.

IMAT Technology Featured in Nature Nanotechnology
The work of Dr Shanna O Kelley, an international IMAT grantee from the University of Toronto, was recently featured in an article published in the journal, Nature Nanotechnology. The work focused on the development of a single designer ligand—a chimeric DNA molecule—capable of controllably programming both the growth and the biofunctionalization of nanocrystals. Development of this novel technology saves both time- and labor-intensive processes and places the use of luminescent nanocrystals as customized lumiphores within reach for many researchers.

USPTO Approves 8 new patents on IMAT technologies in 2007-2008
IMAT Program investigators successfully secured the approval of 8 additional new patents for novel technologies in calendar year 2007 through 2008 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These newly approved patents bring the total number of patent-related IMAT technologies that cite a specific IMAT award number to approximately 110.