Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Google Maps for the human body: a biomedical revolution

UNSW biomedical engineer Melissa Knothe Tate is using previously top-secret semiconductor technology to zoom through organs of the human body, down to the level of a single cell.

Using Google algorithms, Professor Knothe Tate – an engineer and expert in cell biology and regenerative medicine – is able to zoom in and out from the scale of the whole joint down to the cellular level “just as you would with Google Maps”, reducing to “a matter of weeks analyses that once took 25 years to complete”.

Her team is also using cutting-edge microtome and MRI technology to examine how movement and weight bearing affects the movement of molecules within joints, exploring the relationship between blood, bone, lymphatics and muscle.

Read more:
‘Google Maps’ for the body: a biomedical revolution

Source: UNSW Newsroom

Monday, March 30, 2015

Red blood cell goodies

Red blood cell iced gems from Nevie Pie Cakes

Serratia flowers

Serratia marcescens can form brilliant red colonies on LB agar due to the synthesis of the secondary metabolite prodigiosin. In the Microbiology teaching lab, we had students create pigment mutants of S. marcescens and these lovely shades of pink and white were collected for analysis

Read more:
Serratia flowers

Source: Micrpbeworld

The first portable DNA sequencing laboratory

As one of the first research Institutes to take part in the MinION Access Programme (MAP) for portable DNA sequencing, introduced by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)’s task force share their experience of the ground breaking trial so far

The team of scientists from TGAC’s Data Infrastructure and Algorithms and Plant and Microbial Genomics groups trialled the miniaturised sensing system by sequencing environmental samples, containing DNA from hundreds or thousands of different organisms.

The team experimented first with a mock community, where they used a simple set of DNA samples from twenty bacteria, created for the Human Microbiome Project. Having developed their experimental and data methods, they then tested real environmental samples sequencing them on the MinION and Illumina platforms for comparison.

Read more:
The Genome Analysis Centre

 Source: TGAC

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Laboratory Instrument Intelligence

Be careful. This machine has no brain. Use your own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lowering LDL Cholesterol Is Good, but How and in Whom?

Genetic findings reported approximately 9 years ago in the Journal indicated that rare sequence variants in the gene encoding proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9) were associated with significantly lower long-term plasma levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The observed reduction in LDL cholesterol levels was similar to that attained with moderate-intensity statin therapy. The benefits of lifelong lowering of LDL cholesterol levels were substantial; a 47 to 88% lower risk of coronary heart disease was observed over a period of 15 years in middle-aged persons with such genetic polymorphisms. Further genetic studies indicated that PCSK9 activity was a major determinant of plasma levels of LDL cholesterol in humans.

Read more:
Lowering LDL Cholesterol Is Good, but How and in Whom?

Source: NEJM

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sweet Sugar Baby

 You are so sweet, you sweeten my life

Read more:
biochemistry jokes

Source: tumblr

66% of People Diagnosed with Cancer Survive At Least 5 Years

Two out of three people with invasive cancer survive five years or moreTwo out of three Americans with invasive cancer—the kind that has spread to nearby healthy tissue—are living five years or more after diagnosis, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read more:
66% of People Diagnosed with Cancer Survive At Least 5 Years

 Source: TIME

Histology Moose

Some histology fun for Sunday

Read more:
Histology Look-a-like

Source: I heart histo

Blue Crystal Lab Beaker Necklace

Sterling Silver Blue Pavé Crystal Beaker Charm on a Delicate 18 Inch Sterling Silver Cable.

Read more:
Blue Crystal Beaker Necklace Sterling

Source: Etsy by EvelynMaeCreations

Saint Patrick´s Cells

Yes I can see that Saint Patrick´s Day is coming.

Happy Saint Patrick´s Day Scientists on 17 March!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Eosinophil morphology variation between species

Eosinophil morphology

Elongated band-shaped, bi-lobed or tri-lobed nucleus cytoplasm has red/red-orange staining granules,
  • Feline: numerous small rod-shaped granules
  • Canine: varying size granules in same cell
Read more:
Hematology & Hemostasis Veterinary Clinical Lab


Cell Case to Cell Phone

Abnormal Pap Smear" iPhone Case by A. Simone

Original image:
Abnormal cells.jpg

Welcome to Lab World

I <3 Lab

Source: Faceb ook via Département Biologie SNV Université De Skikda

Smart Phone Microscopic Photography - Video Tutorial

Learn how to take pictures through a microscope using any smart phone.
No accessories needed! 

Source: Youtube - Smart Phone Microscopic Photography

Borrelia burgdorferi pleomorphic forms

Spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the causative agent of Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne infection in the Northern hemisphere. There is a long-standing debate regarding the role of pleomorphic forms in Lyme disease pathogenesis, while very little is known about the characteristics of these morphological variants. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of B. burgdorferi pleomorphic formation in different culturing conditions at physiological temperature. Interestingly, human serum induced the bacteria to change its morphology to round bodies. In addition, biofilm-like colonies in suspension were found to be part of B. burgdorferi's normal in vitro growth. Further studies provided evidence that spherical round bodies had an intact and flexible cell envelope demonstrating that they are not cell wall deficient, or degenerative as previously implied. However, the round bodies displayed lower metabolic activity compared to spirochetes. Furthermore, our results indicated that the different pleomorphic variants were distinguishable by having unique biochemical signatures. Consequently, pleomorphic B. burgdorferi should be taken into consideration as being clinically relevant and influence the development of novel diagnostics and treatment protocols.

Read more:
Morphological and biochemical features of Borrelia burgdorferi pleomorphic forms

 Source: Microbiology

Friday, March 13, 2015

C-reactive protein boosts antibody-mediated platelet destruction

C-reactive protein (CRP) enhances IgG-mediated phagocytosis of platelets and patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) have elevated CRP levels, which predicted slower platelet recoveries and bleeding severity.

Binding of antiplatelet antibodies (Ab) to platelets (Plt) triggers platelet oxidation, which also requires the phagocyte NADPH oxidase system. Platelet oxidation exposes oxidized phosphorylcholine (Ox PC) residues from the platelet membrane, providing a Ca2+-dependent binding platform for CRP. CRP subsequently boosts antibody-mediated platelet phagocytosis via phagocytic FcRs.

Read more:
C-reactive protein boosts antibody-mediated platelet destruction

 Source: Blood journal

Urinary cast morphology

A urinary cast is congealed protein or cellular debris, that forms within a renal tubule. The material or cells that form a cast may have come through a damaged glomerulus, been part of an interstitial inflammatory infiltrate, have been dead tubular cells.

Read more:
Pathology Case Studies

 Source: Indiana edu

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Medical Laboratory Scientists

Soon we will be medical laboratory scientists.
Rich and famous.

Heroes Behing The Scenes

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear lab coats

Source: Facebook via Lab humor
Image: Heroes - Lab humor

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Almost anyone can perform medical laboratory tests in USA

When your doctor orders lab tests, are they performed and analyzed by licensed medical laboratorians? If you live in the United States, chances are the answer is no. Medical laboratory scientists (MLS) and medical laboratory technicians (MLT) are licensed in just 12 states.

Read more:
Almost anyone can perform your medical laboratory tests – wait, what? 

Source: Elsevier connect

Teenager diagnosed with testicular cancer after pregnancy test

A teenager was diagnosed with testicular cancer after taking a pregnancy test that came back positive.
Byron Geldard, then 18, had finished school and had just returned from a summer holiday with friends when he received the diagnosis the day before he was due to get his A’ Level results.
Pregnancy tests are increasingly used to diagnose, or rule out, testicular cancer as the illness produces the same hCG hormone that is produced by the developing placenta.
Byron said it was difficult to come to terms with the news and that it took him a while to accept what was happening.

Read more:
Teenager diagnosed with testicular cancer after pregnancy test

 Source: Telegraph

Reducing Microscopic Variation

As any good bench technologist knows, quality is in the details. But details bedevil quality in sources of error that affect the precision and accuracy of test results. In labs where automation is common and less sample handling is required for hands-on testing, light microscopy is still fraught with human error. Understanding sources of microscopic variation in hematology will help you develop a strategy that improves quality.

Generally, sources of error arise from preanalytical, analytical, or post-analytical phases that can create variation throughout the microscopic process. These errors may be random or systematic. A comprehensive quality program considers these sources of error and contains strategies to detect and correct process-related errors.

Read more:
Reducing Microscopic Variation


Happy Wednesday Scientists

Keep calm and put your lab coat on

View more: Keep calm and carry on

CDC New HIV Testing Algorithm

In June 2014, CDC recommended a new approach for HIV testing in laboratories, which capitalizes on the latest technology to improve the diagnosis of acute infection. The recommendations feature a new testing algorithm that allows the diagnosis of acute HIV infection as much as 3-4 weeks earlier than the previous testing approach.

The new algorithm begins with a combination immunoassay that detects HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies and HIV-1 p24 antigen. This test is more sensitive in diagnosing early infection because it detects the HIV-1 p24 antigen, which appears before antibodies develop.

Specimens reactive on the screening fourth-generation assay are tested with a supplemental assay that differentiates HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies. Specimens that are reactive on the initial fourth-generation assay but nonreactive or indeterminate on the antibody differentiation assay are then tested for HIV-1 RNA to differentiate acute HIV infection from a false-positive screening result.

Read more:
New HIV Testing Algorithm

CDC Recommendations
Laboratory Testing for the Diagnosis of HIV Infection - Updated Recommendations

 Source: CDC

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


These little microbes are all about doing no harm. In fact they want to help science by artfully arranging themselves into the instrument that helps humans explore their world.

Read more:
Hand-embroidered Microbe-scope

Source: knittyMD on Etsy

Eureka or is it?

Some people thinks that scientists exclaim "Eureka" when doing experiments...

Source: Twisted Doodles

How blood group O protects against malaria

It has long been known that people with blood type O are protected from dying of severe malaria. In a study published in Nature Medicine, a team of Scandinavian scientists explains the mechanisms behind the protection that blood type O provides, and suggest that the selective pressure imposed by malaria may contribute to the variable global distribution of ABO blood groups in the human population.

A team of scientists led from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now identified a new and important piece of the puzzle by describing the key part played by the RIFIN protein. Using data from different kinds of experiment on cell cultures and animals, they show how the Plasmodium falciparum parasite secretes RIFIN, and how the protein makes its way to the surface of the blood cell, where it acts like glue. The team also demonstrates how it bonds strongly with the surface of type A blood cells, but only weakly to type O.

This study ties together previous findings. It can explain the mechanism behind the protection that blood group O provides against severe malaria, which can, in turn, explain why the blood type is so common in the areas where malaria is common. In Nigeria, for instance, more than half of the population belongs to blood group O, which protects against malaria.”

Read more:
How blood group O protects against malaria

Source: Karolinska Institutet

Gram Stain of Deadly Bacteria

Scary gram stain control slide

Source: Pinterest by Sandra Lopez

Monday, March 9, 2015

Morbillivirus Infections

Research on morbillivirus infections has led to exciting developments in recent years. Global measles vaccination coverage has increased, resulting in a significant reduction in measles mortality. In 2011 rinderpest virus was declared globally eradicated – only the second virus to be eradicated by targeted vaccination. Identification of new cellular receptors and implementation of recombinant viruses expressing fluorescent proteins in a range of model systems have provided fundamental new insights into the pathogenesis of morbilliviruses, and their interactions with the host immune system. Nevertheless, both new and well-studied morbilliviruses are associated with significant disease in wildlife and domestic animals. This illustrates the need for robust surveillance and a strategic focus on barriers that restrict cross-species transmission. Recent and ongoing measles outbreaks also demonstrate that maintenance of high vaccination coverage for these highly infectious agents is critical.

The genus Morbillivirus belongs to the virus family Paramyxoviridae, a group of enveloped viruses with non-segmented, negative strand RNA genomes. It contains viruses that are highly infectious, spread via the respiratory route, cause profound immune suppression, and have a propensity to cause large outbreaks associated with high morbidity and mortality in previously unexposed populations. In populations with endemic virus circulation, the epidemiology changes to that of a childhood disease, as hosts that survive the infection normally develop lifelong immunity.

Read more:
Morbillivirus Infections: An Introduction

Source: MDPI Viruses

Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria presenting during pregnancy

Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria is caused by a biphasic IgG autoantibody that triggers complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis. Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria has not previously been reported to occur in association with pregnancy.

An 18 year old female who presented in early pregnancy with acute hemolytic anemia and a positive Donath-Landsteiner antibody test. She was diagnosed with paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria and treated supportively. Her hemolysis resolved within 6 weeks. Because maternal IgG autoantibodies can cross the placenta, the patient was monitored closely throughout her pregnancy for recurrence. The outcome of the pregnancy was successful, with no evidence of neonatal anemia or hemolysis.

This patient had a classic presentation of paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria with rapid onset of hemolytic anemia that resolved spontaneously. To our knowledge, this is the first report of paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria presenting during pregnancy.

Read more:
Case report: paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria presenting during pregnancy

Source: BMC Hematology

Gram Positive Thinking

"Think positive even if you are gram negative"
by Randa Suhail

Image credits: Randa Suhail

Do We Need Procalcitonin for Sepsis?

Globally, sepsis and its complications are a major cause of acute illness and death. The American College of Chest Physicians and Society of Critical Care Medicine defined sepsis as systemic inflammatory response caused by infection. However, the major challenge remains, how can we prove there is an infection? Culture best identifies it, but only in about 30% of patients with sepsis. False positivity of cultures further complicates the situation. Clinical signs of sepsis—including fever, tachycardia, and leucocytosis—are non-specific and overlap with signs of systemic inflammatory response syndromes (SIRS) of non-infectious origin, making detection of sepsis a clinical challenge. As a result, delay in diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is responsible for increased mortality.

In order to prove the presence of bacterial infection, serum biomarkers like procalcitonin (PCT) are considered useful. Biochemically, PCT is the prohormone of the hormone calcitonin, released into the circulation in response to bacterial infection. PCT is the best-studied sepsis biomarker for clinical use. Among all sepsis markers, only PCT has achieved universal use throughout developed countries in the last decade.

Read more:
Do We Need Procalcitonin for Sepsis? 

Source: AACC

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Medical Lab On Your Smartphone

Health tech startup Scanadu is working on the cutting-edge of a new type of medical technology that could one day put the hospital in the palm of our hands.  It just started shipping its first product Scout, a device that can detect your temperature, blood pressure and other biological phenomenon and then upload that information into an app.

Scanadu is now in the testing phase with Scanaflo. This is an iPhone-ready urinalysis strip and application to read the strip results.

Read more:
New Pee Stick Puts The Medical Lab On Your Smartphone 

Source: TechCrunch

Forget princess I want to be a laboratory scientist

Happy International Women´s Day

Image credits: Deviant art by Willemijn1991

ECG chest leads

Standard chest lead electrode placement

Read more:
ECG learning center

Source:ECG learning center

Coagulation Cascade Animation Video

Awesome animation of the physiology of Hemostasis

View more:
Coagulation Cascade Animation - Physiology of Hemostasis

Source: YouTube

International Women´s Day - 10 Famous Women Scientists in History

International Women's Day (IWD), also called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political, and social achievements.

Science and technology are often considered to be the forte of men. Nevertheless, the contribution of women to the progress of these areas cannot be disregarded. There have been numerous gifted and far-famed women scientists in history who made crucial discoveries and inventions in the world of science.

10 Famous Women Scientists in History:
  1. Marie Curie -  Polish-born French physicist and chemist best known for her contributions to radioactivity.
  2. Jane Goodall - British primatologist and ethologist, widely considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.
  3. Maria Mayer - German-born American physicist who received Nobel Prize for suggesting the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus.
  4. Rachel Carson - American marine biologist and conservationist whose work revolutionzied the global environmental movement.
  5. Rosalind Franklin - British biophysicist best known for her work on the molecular structures of coal and graphite, and X-ray diffraction.
  6. Barbara McClintock - American scientist and cytogeneticist who received Nobel Prize in 1983 for the discovery of genetic transposition.
  7. Rita Levi-Montalcini - Italian neurologist who received Nobel Prize in 1986 for the discovery of Nerve growth factor (NGF)
  8. Gertrude Elion - American biochemist and pharmacologist who received the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  9. Elizabeth Blackwell - American physician who was the first woman to become a medical doctor in the United States.
  10. Cristiane Nusslein-Volhard - German biologist who received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1991.

Read more:
10 Famous Women Scientists in History

Source: Famous Scientists

Howell-Jolly bodies in sickle cell anemia

The pathophysiology behind Howell-Jolly bodies and nucleated red blood cells in patients with sickle cell anemia is the same: the patient has effectively lost his or her spleen.

"Pretend you’re a sickle cell for a minute. You’re stuck in this strange, elongated shape, and you’re not deformable like you once were. Floating through big vessels is easy, but once you get to capillaries, it becomes difficult to squeeze through without getting stuck. Once you get stuck, other red cells (both sickled and non-sickled) pile up behind you, and pretty soon, no blood is going through that vessel at all."

Read more:
Why do you see Howell-Jolly bodies in sickle cell anemia?

Source: Pathology student

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Three reasons to use multichannel pipettors

Art and science of laboratory medicine

Source: The lab equipment

70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory results

Medical laboratory - Important work behind the scenes

Aaaagh....It was a long night shift

I feel like night shifts are killing me

Imge credits: brains-and-bodies

Normal Pap Smear

Normal cells of the cervix consist basically of squamous, glandular, and metaplastic epithelial cells. The squamous cells line the ectocervix (outer portion) as well as the vagina, and the glandular cells line the endocervix (the inner portion). Squamous metaplastic cells originate from the transformation zone of the cervix where the inner (endocervix) and outer (ectocervix) meet. In order for the cell sample to be satisfactory, endocervical or metaplastic cells must be present as most cervical cancers originate at this highly active transformation zone. Normal appearing endometrial cells may occasionally be seen in association with menses (between Day 1 and12 of the menstrual cycle).

Read more:
Normal Pap Smear, Pap Smear Illustration

Source: Art of cytology

Lab Equipment Art

This playful info-graphic shows almost all of the lab equipment you could ever dream of! Show off your love of science with this educational art print.

Read more:

Source: Rachelignotofsky on Etsy

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Short History of the Discovery of Viruses

While people were aware of diseases of both humans and animals now known to be caused by viruses many hundreds of years ago, the concept of a virus as a distinct entity dates back only to the very late 1800s. Although the term had been used for many years previously to describe disease agents, the word “virus” comes from a Latin word simply meaning “slimy fluid”.

Part 1: Filters and Discovery
Part 2: The Ultracentrifuge, Eggs and Flu
Part 3: Phages, Cell Culture and Polio
Part 4: RNA Genomes and Modern Virology

Read more:
A Short History of the Discovery of Viruses

Source: Viroblog

Love and Science

Lab scientist propose with a pipette <3

Source: Tumblr via brains-and-bodies

Morphology of Myeloid Precursors

The earliest morphologically distinct myeloid cell is a myeloblast. Cell with myeloid commitment at stages of differentiation between the pleuripotant stem cell and myeloblasts have been identified but these lack morphological characters of a myeloid lineage. Myeloid cells share a common precursors with the cells of the monocyte-macrophage system in the form of CFU-GM. CFU-GM matures into CFU-G, a precursor for myeloid cells and CFU-M, a precursor for cells of the monocyte-macrophage series. There are five morphological distinct stages of myeloid precursors, myeloblast, promyelocyte, myelocyte, metamyelocyte and the band form. Only the first three are capable of cell division. Myeloid cells in the peripheral blood are classified into neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils depending on the staining characteristics of the cytoplasmic granules. Morphological evidence of commitment one of the myeloid lines is seen at the myelocyte stage. Electron microscopically commitment can be seen at the promyelocyte stage.

Read more:
Morphology of Myeloid Precursors

Source: All About Blood

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Image callery of artifacts that mimic parasites

Artifacts in blood, stool and tissue samples.

Open gallery here;
CDC - DPDx - Artifacts - Images

 Source: CDC

Miracle stem cell therapy reverses multiple sclerosis

A pioneering new stem cell treatment is allowing multiple sclerosis sufferers to walk, run and even dance again, in results branded ‘miraculous’ by doctors. Patients who have been wheelchair-bound for 10 years have regained the use of their legs in the groundbreaking therapy, while others who were blind can now see again. The treatment, is the first to reverse the symptoms of MS, which has no cure, and affects around 100,000 people in Britain.

During the treatment, the patient's stem cells are harvested and stored. Then doctors use aggressive drugs which are usually given to cancer patients to completely destroy the immune system.  The harvested stem cells are then infused back into the body where they start to grow new red and white blood cells within just two weeks. Within a month the immune system is back up and running fully and that is when patients begin to notice that they are recovering.

Read more:
‘Miracle’ stem cell therapy reverses multiple sclerosis

Source: Telegraph

First Lipoprotein(a) Particle Concentration Assay

Researchers at Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. (HDL Inc.) have developed a novel, proprietary method to measure atherogenic lipoprotein(a) particle concentration [Lp(a)-P]. The new method relies on modern immuno-electrophoretic techniques that separate and identify particles based on their charge and size, as opposed to current assays that measure either the amount of cholesterol contained in the Lp(a) fraction or, more commonly, the total mass of the Lp(a) particles in the circulation.

"With this breakthrough in Lp(a) analytical methodology, we are finally able to assess Lp(a) particle concentrations - which we think can be more powerful than Lp(a) mass or cholesterol - as predictors of cardiovascular risk," said Joseph McConnell, PhD, senior author of the paper and president and CEO of HDL Inc.

Read more:
Health Diagnostic Laboratory Announces First Lipoprotein(a) Particle Concentration Assay


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