U-M purchases Fluxion's IonFlux system to study nanoscale membrane disruption

Fluxion Biosciences, Inc. announced today that the University of Michigan Department of Chemistry has purchased the IonFlux 16 automated patch clamp instrument. The IonFlux system will enable detailed studies of nanoparticle membrane disruption, a novel application for automated patch clamp instruments that are typically used for the characterization of ion channel modulators.

"We are excited about applying the IonFlux platform to our studies of nanoscale membrane disruption," said Mark Banaszak Holl, Professor of Chemistry and Associate VP of Research at University of Michigan. "During validation experiments using the IonFlux technology, we were able to collect more date in a couple of days than we were able to collect in a space of four years using traditional approaches. We believe that patch clamp measurements of membrane conductance are essential to understanding the interactions between synthetic nanoparticles and cells and recently published results in this area in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (B 2009, 113, 11179); however, pursuing this research area using only manual patch clamp recording was too slow and required a long learning curve for each student. Other automated electrophysiology systems were priced well beyond our research lab budget. The IonFlux 16 will provide our lab with high experimental throughput, is simple to operate, and comes at the right price point for our research studies."

The flexibility, ease of use, and scalability of the IonFlux 16 facilitates a wide range of patch clamp experiments, including the characterization of changes in ion channel activity and membrane conductance. The system fully automates the patch clamp process and eliminates the technical skill and time associated with the manual patch clamp technique.

"It's exciting to see the adoption of the IonFlux 16 instrument at a world class research institution, and the development of a novel application space for patch clamp measurements" said Cristian Ionescu-Zanetti, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer at Fluxion Biosciences. "This purchase reflects the unmet need of academic investigators to obtain high quality electrophysiology data at increased throughput and with faster learning curves. It also validates the role that the IonFlux 16 system will play for a variety of phenomena involving lipid membranes, where large scale studies are necessary but not practical on a manual setup."

The IonFlux system utilizes Fluxion's innovative Well Plate Microfluidic™ technology to automate the patch clamp process. The system performs 16 voltage-clamp recordings in parallel and provides fast perfusion of up to 8 compounds per cell ensemble for a total of 128 data points per 96-well plate. The use of ensemble recording improves consistency and success rates, enabling the systematic study of changes in cell membrane conductance as mediated by both ion channel modulators and compounds that disrupt plasma membranes. These studies were previously impractical for a wide range of investigators due to the large amount of specialized training required and relatively low throughput of the manual patch clamp technique, and the prohibitive cost of other automated patch clamp instruments.


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