Invitrogen has tapped some heavy hitters in the flow cytometry field to help bolster its reagent sales in the cell analysis field.
Last week, the company announced that it had partnered with software firm ScienceXperts, a spinout of the Herzenberg lab at Stanford University, to launch CytoGenie, a free software tool that simplifies the design of flow cytometry experiments.
Leonard Herzenberg, director of ScienceXperts and emeritus professor of genetics at Stanford University Medical School, led the development of the first fluorescence-activated cell sorter and is widely credited as the father of flow cytometry.
Leonore Herzenberg, co-director of ScienceXperts and professor of genetics at the Stanford University Medical School, said that CytoGenie is a “much-extended implementation” of a software system that the Herzenberg group originally developed for its own use in 1983.
Invitrogen has collaborated with ScienceXperts to integrate its entire line of reagents for flow cytometry into CytoGenie. Invitrogen said in a statement that the combined offering will provide customers with an automated system for picking the best reagents that will work with their flow cytometry instrument.
The software also allows users to buy Invitrogen reagents online.
In addition to the free version of CytoGenie, called CytoGenie Basic, ScienceXperts also sells a more advanced version of the software called CytoGenie Pro, which allows customers to share instrument configurations, reagent inventories, and stain sets, and to export protocols and other information to flow cytometry instruments and third-party analysis software.
“Our goal is to reduce the amount of so-called ‘drudge-work’ that is inherent in running a flow cytometry protocol,” Herzenberg told Cell-Based Assay News. “What we’ve found is that people are much more limited than they need to be. The reagents are available and they own the instruments that can do this work. However, scientists are nervous to try new things because they do not have the necessary breadth of knowledge.”
“Our goal is to reduce the amount of so-called ‘drudge-work’ that is inherent in running a flow cytometry protocol.”
Herzenberg said that CytoGenie can help researchers design their experiments properly. Scientists can view their reagents on an inventory-sensitive “tree” and pick those that fit their instrument capabilities. They can also verify that their color combinations work, she said.
The software includes a point-and-click interface that allows customers to build sets of fluorescent reagents for single- and multi-step staining, said Herzenberg. They can also fine-tune stain sets to favor target cells. Herzenberg said that scientists can add appropriate standards and controls.
Herzenberg said that CytoGenie can also expedite experiment execution because sample information can be entered quickly, easily, and nonrepetitively. In addition, CytoGenie automatically creates a rack/plate plan for combining reagent sets with cell samples.
CytoGenie computes all cell and reagent volumes, and then prints a detailed guide for hand or automated pipetting, Herzenberg said. The software also creates files to instruct instruments for automated or manual data collection.
Herzenberg explained that by speeding up reagent selection and experiment design, CytoGenie removes bottlenecks and helps researchers avoid errors. The software also decreases planning and recording errors, she said.