First Center of Excellence on Dynamic Single-Molecule Studies for Brain and Disease Research established in Belgium

·5 min read

AMSTERDAM, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- LUMICKS is proud to announce it has successfully installed a C-Trap® Optical Tweezers – Fluorescence & Label-free Microscopy system at VIB, the life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium. The C-Trap will support the research efforts of six VIB research groups across three Belgian universities studying processes underlying neurodegenerative disorders. Together, they form the first Centre of Excellence on Dynamic Single-Molecule Analysis for Brain and Disease Research in Belgium.

The C-Trap allows simultaneous and correlated manipulation and visualization of single-molecule interactions in real-time. The installed system, configured with dual optical tweezers and 3-color confocal microscopy, can facilitate users in a variety of different studies, including protein folding, aggregation, and droplets, to gain novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying diseases such as Alzheimer's, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The instrument will also be able to be used for fundamental queries into, for example, the structural properties of bacterial proteins.

"We started studying liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) a few years ago and were always on the lookout for a technique that enables manipulation and visualization of liquid droplets at the single-droplet level," said Peter Tompa, group leader at the VIB Center for Structural Biology. "Our first experience with the C-Trap shows this is exactly what we can do here. We are excited to have a system that can help us address basic questions with regards to LLPS and protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS."

Frederic Rousseau & Joost Schymkowitz, group leaders of the Switch lab at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research, study the relevance of protein folding in various neurodegenerative conditions. They also see great potential in using the C-Trap: "The Switch lab is active in the field of protein folding and aggregation and the C-Trap is a unique instrument that allows us to study the interplay between both processes in ways that simply cannot be done using bulk methods. We are very grateful to VIB's Tech Watch program to provide access to such high-end instrumentation."

"We are thankful for the help of VIB's Tech Watch Program in establishing the first C-Trap in Belgium. Their team is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of science and supporting early-stage disruptive technologies to aid the research efforts," commented Willem Peutz, Head of Customer Success at LUMICKS. "This initiative will provide VIB researchers access to information that reveals the dynamic molecular processes that underlie neurodegenerative conditions. We are looking forward to this collaboration and are eager to see the first results!"

About C-Trap®

The C-Trap combines high resolution optical tweezers, fluorescence and label-free microscopy and an advanced microfluidics system in a truly integrated and correlated solution. Using LUMICKS' C-Trap, scientists are now able to simultaneously and in real-time visualize individual molecules and measure mechanical properties of biomolecular complexes to reveal even greater detail. This single-molecule visualization technology may enable the understanding of biological processes to the smallest detail, which is critical for life science research and drug development. Additional information about the C-Trap® Optical Tweezers – Fluorescence & Label-free Microscopy is available here.

About LUMICKS

LUMICKS is a leading life science tools company that develops equipment for Dynamic Single-Molecule and Cell Avidity analysis, two rapidly emerging areas in biology research and immuno-oncology. Built upon innovative technologies, such as optical tweezers (Nobel Prize for Physics 2018) and STED super-resolution microscopy (Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2014), LUMICKS tools facilitate the understanding of life to the smallest detail.

LUMICKS tools allow researchers to build the crucial and as yet unfinished bridge between structure and function at both a molecular and a cellular level. This is achieved by applying and measuring forces around biological interactions, enabling the detailed real-time analysis of underlying biological mechanisms. LUMICKS' C-Trap® Optical Tweezers – Fluorescence & Label-free Microscopy, allows scientists to analyze complex biological processes in real-time. Similarly, the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer enables the measurement and selection of immune cells based on their real-time interactions with target cells. The company was founded in 2014 as an academic spin-off from the research group of Prof. Gijs Wuite, Prof. Erwin Peterman, and Prof. Iddo Heller at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. For more information, visit the company's website at www.lumicks.com.

About VIB

VIB is an entrepreneurial non-profit research institute, with a clear focus on groundbreaking strategic basic research in life sciences and operates in close partnership with the five universities in Flanders – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University.

VIB scientists study the molecular mechanisms that regulate the functions of the human body, plants and microorganisms. Such mechanistic research leads to innovative insights into the normal and abnormal/pathological life processes, with the potential to use these insights to develop novel therapeutics, diagnostics, agricultural applications and technologies. Thanks to the hard work of many people over a period of almost 25 years and the support of a sustained investment by the government of Flanders, VIB is widely recognized as an established and world-leading knowledge center in life sciences and biotechnology with an excellent reputation in technology transfer. The unique combination of strategic basic research and a clear focus on innovation & business is one of the major contributors to its success. VIB is highly committed to being the driving force behind the growth of the dynamic life sciences cluster in Flanders.

For more information contact:

Kassandra Barbetsea, PR & Marketing, LUMICKS
+31 (0) 63 482 09 48
PR@lumicks.com

Sooike Stoops, Expert Press and Public Communication, VIB
+32 9 244 66 11
Sooike.Stoops@vib.be

Yu-Chun Wang – Life Sciences Technology Implementation Specialist, VIB
+32 9 244 66 11
Yuchun.wang@vib.be

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SOURCE LUMICKS

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