Campus Gets State-of-the-Art NanoDrop
With funds awarded through a grant from the Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program, the Moravian College biochemistry program purchased a NanoDrop spectrophotometer—the gold standard instrument of microscale spectrophotometry. Not only does this acquisition speed up the research process, but it also means that chemistry and biochemistry students will be working with the same type of instrument employed by researchers in top laboratories around the world.
“If you have a solution that’s precious, you don’t want to measure a lot of it because your sample then has to be thrown away,” points out Dr. Christopher Jones, geneticist and associate professor of biology at Moravian College.
A traditional spectrophotometer is used to identify and quantify molecules in a solution or mixture. The NanoDrop does the same but requires only a tiny fraction of the material that one would need when using a standard spectrophotometer. A sample as small as 0.5 microliter (1 microliter is the volume to fill the eye of the smallest needle) can be analyzed by the NanoDrop. It is particularly valuable for measuring small quantities of DNA.
“Since only a tiny sample needs to be prepared for analysis, the NanoDrop saves time, which speeds up the ability to make decisions in the research process, allowing our students to go further,” adds Dr. Stephen Dunham, associate professor of chemistry at Moravian College.
“I love working with it!” says Ana Bustamante, a senior biochemistry. “It is really fast! It cuts the measuring time of samples in half. Using our old equipment, it would take me four hours to measure 40 samples.”