The Chromatography Beast
“It looked like a Medusa,” said Farah Mavandadi. “I was scared of it.”
Mavandadi, a senior product manager at Bio-Rad, was not describing a monster in a nightmare or a creature seen from a diving bell, but rather a research-scale chromatography system. Sprawling over a lab bench, instead of snakes the system had bunches of electronic cables and fluidic tubing that writhed and tangled around its various components.
Despite resembling an unholy mashup between Rube Goldberg and Jason and the Argonauts, this system was highly valued by the researcher who had wrangled it together, lovingly making each complex connection and hand-coding each component into the analytical software. The reason? Flexibility. Despite its messiness, the researcher could rearrange her system to get the most efficient fluidic path, to have right kind of detector in place, or make any other tweak in order to perform the best possible separation. Between having an “easy” instrument and having one she could change as her chromatography needs required, this researcher chose to face “Medusa.”
But what if, reflected Mavandadi, researchers could add, remove, and reconfigure modules in their chromatography systems without performing the Labors of Hercules? Answering this question became the driving principle behind developing the NGC™ medium pressure chromatography system. This installment of the Chromatography Chronicles will delve into Bio-Rad’s push to bring modularity and “plug-and-play” design to chromatography. But first, watch postdocs Tomas and Janna put their chromatography systems through their paces in a friendly but feisty face-off.