Mary Ups Her Data Point Count on Laser Capture Microdissection Samples with Wes

"We collect samples from laser microdissection and were using our entire sample on just one regular Western blot. With Wes, we can do multiple assays with one sample collection."

- Mary Howell, Laboratory Coordinator, Department of Internal Medicine, East Tennessee State University

Mary Howell

Making the link between diabetes and exercise

Mary is the laboratory coordinator for Dr. Charles Stuart's lab in the department of Internal Medicine at East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine. The Stuart lab studies the effects of exercise training on diabetes by looking at vastus lateralis skeletal muscle biopsies for various changes in fiber composition.

One data point per sample

The Stuart lab uses laser capture microdissection (LCM) to isolate homogeneous samples of different myosin heavy and light chain fiber types. It takes more than a whole day to stain and collect samples in front of the laser. Each capture gives them 20 µL of sample, just enough for one data point using traditional Western blot. And if there were any unexpected snags with the sample collection or Western blot, Mary would end up with no data at all sending her back to the LCM to collect more sample.

Upping the data count

Mary used Wes's small sample size and sensitivity to up her efficiency. Now she gets multiple data points for each LCM sample and only needs 1-2 µL of sample to measure her proteins. And that's using Wes's default assay! Because she's able to get anywhere from five to 10 data points for every LCM sample, she's spending less time in front of the LCM. The reliability Wes gives her also means more successful experiments when probing for her protein of interest.

Figure 1

Figure 1.  Detecting myosin heavy chain 7 (MHC7) with 1, 2, and 3 µL of LCM sample.

Savings that double-up

Mary's work is ongoing, but she really feels less time on the LCM and more data points from one sample translates to major time and cost savings for the Stuart lab. And not being in front of the LCM so much means more time for what Mary loves to do—travel!

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