So Many Microplate Choices for Cell Culturing: Where to Begin?

With growing interest in leveraging in vitro models to reduce costs, increase throughput, and minimize ethical concerns throughout the early stages of drug discovery and development, microplates utilized in in vitro assays have become increasingly specialized. But, with the wide variety of microplate types on the market today, plate choice can be a daunting decision when setting up any new assay. Many considerations need to be taken into account such as culture approach (if any), throughput requirements, and analytical needs. Below we summarize a few of these considerations.

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Michael Johnson
Blog Post: Loading and Measurement of Volumes in 3D Confocal Image Stacks with ImageJ

In this blog post Dr. Tom Villani discusses loading and processing 3D confocal image stacks and performing volume measurements with ImageJ. This is crucial for processing data from tissues imaged in 3D with confocal or light sheet microscopy through the use of tissue clearing.

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Blog Post: Screening for Success with Plant Tissue Culture

A major step in increasing the impact of these technologies is to improve throughput of screening. Successful genetic alteration or chemical resistance can be screened chemically, but morphological improvement will still be assessed via microscopy by skilled technicians (at least until machine learning can catch up). To assist with this effort we have developed the Visikol for Plant Biology reagent which allows for easy and high quality botanical microscopy through tissue clearing.  

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Michael Johnson
Blog Post: Primary 3D Cell Culture Models

Primary cell spheroid cultures developed in this manner offer the potential to model complex diseases, previously only tractable in vivo. For example, a genetic modification or an environmental manipulation (such as a high fat diet or other stressor conditions) could be induced in an in vivo model and translated to an in vitro model by isolating relevant primary cells and culturing in 3D formats. To be clear, while the in vivo model would still require the use of animal subjects, the cells derived from a single or few subjects could be divided into hundreds of small models, enabling a higher throughput approach to a drug screen while still maintaining higher order relevance.

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Michael Johnson
Blog Post: In Vitro Mimicry of the Blood Brain Barrier

A common question for pharmaceutical companies developing therapeutics for neuroscience applications is the passage of small and large molecules across the blood brain barrier. Without this passage, these therapeutics will not reach their target and will thus not be efficacious. Therefore, many researchers have worked to develop in vitro models for the blood brain barrier that can mimic the pharmacokinetic properties in an inexpensive in vitro model.

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Michael Johnson
Where Do Organs/Bodies on a Chip Fit Into Drug Discovery?

Because Visikol offers advanced in vitro assays, we are commonly asked about which models are best and asked to compare models side-by-side. However, the notion of asking which model is best belies the misconception that these advanced models are in fact miniature organs in a well. While we have made progress towards improving in vivo relevancy, even the best in vitro model is far from being a miniature organ in well and all models will have significant limitations

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Michael Johnson
Visikol and Corning Partner on New App Note on 3D Cell Culture Model Imaging

The use of three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures for in vitro drug discovery assays has increased dramatically in recent years because 3D cell culture models more accurately mimic the in vivo environment compared to traditional two-dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures. However, current imaging-based analysis of these 3D cultures relies upon techniques originally developed for 2D cell culture, and as such, has significant limitations. Specifically, the light scattering inherent with thick microscopy specimens prevents imaging the entirety of a 3D spheroid, which are typically >100 µm in diameter. This technical limitation introduces a sampling bias in imaging analysis in which only the exterior cells of a spheroid can be imaged. To accurately survey the cellular environment and response of the spheroid, the field needs new techniques to overcome the sampling bias.

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Michael Johnson