University of Manitoba
Like many researchers, Dr. Kirk McManus, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba, has many questions, and he and his team are very busy, looking for answers! The main goals of Dr. McManus' primary research area, colorectal cancer, are to a) identify aberrant genes that cause chromosome instability (CIN), and b) once these genes are found, identify new drug targets that exploit the aberrant genes through synthetic lethality. Using a well-known YouTube video as a simple analogy, Dr. McManus explains that his group is looking for the "Mentos that cause the aberrant 'gene' in Diet Coke to erupt". Although they work primarily with colorectal cancer models, the results of their experiments are applicable to other tumors, since CIN is also seen in other solid and liquid cancers.
The lab uses BioTek's Cytation 3 Cell Imaging Reader to screen for cancer CIN related genes in 96-well plates, a format that allows the higher throughput and multiplexing capability they need. Besides identifying CIN related genes, the lab uses quantitative fluorescence imaging for ROS activity - an increase in ROS, seen by an increase in signal intensity, causes an increase in DNA damage. With fluorescence imaging, they are able to observe and quantitate apoptosis. The lab is also working with live and 3D cell models to evaluate tumor size after drug treatment, an increasingly popular technique that is easy to perform in 96-well microplates. Although much of the laboratory’s work is imaged-based, the group also uses Cytation 3's multi-mode capability for methods like BCA assays. Dr. McManus says "the instrument is heavily used" by his very busy group - which relies on it for the detection and imaging methods used to help answer some of their important cancer questions.
To learn more about the McManus lab at University of Manitoba, visit their website.
Thanks to Dr. McManus at University of Manitoba for relating his BioTek experience with us.