Posts from December 2010

Quorum Technologies Student Prize Winners 2010

Three students from the University of Brighton have received an award through this year’s Quorum Technologies student prize scheme, having demonstrated exceptional use of electron microscopy in their final year projects.

Our student prize scheme, in partnership with the University of Brighton, is now in its fourth year and still going strong - attracting interest from undergraduates working in a range of scientific disciplines.

This year, three prizes of £200 were awarded for final year undergraduate projects that the judges felt had made particularly good use of electron microscopy. The winners were Mira Buhecha, Robert Cocker and Isaac Lart, whose projects are detailed below.

The prize is held within the University’s Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science and awarded on an annual basis. 

Mira Buhecha
Course: Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) 
Project supervisor: Dr Ananth Pannala
Project title: The development of a beta carotene and quercetin co-encapsulated system using a biodegradable polymer

Image top: The project utilised scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to investigate the size and morphology nanoparticles (PLGA) being developed for drug encapsulation strategies. The image was prepared by cryo-SEM, a process that allows specimens to be prepared and observed at cryo temperatures, typically in the range of -130ºC to -140ºC.

Robert Cocker
Course: Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
Project supervisor: Dr Jacqueline Elsom
Project title: Human oral epithelial skin models in the investigation of compounds used in oral healthcare formulations research

Image middle: The project utilised SEM and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) to investigate zinc nanoparticle interactions with human epithelial cells.

Isaac Lart
Course: Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
Project supervisor: Dr Gary Phillips
Project title: Production of a novel scaffold for large scale, soft tissue regeneration

Image bottom: The project used SEM to investigate the morphology and porosity within the macroporous structure of gelatine and calcium alginate biomaterial scaffold constructs.

For more information on the University of Brighton’s Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science, visit

First cryo-SEM workshop in China

The first Quorum Technologies cryo-SEM workshop to be held in China took place last month, and was a great success.

The event was organised by Nanjing Tansi, our distributor in China, and took place at the University of Tongji in Shanghai on 25-26 November.

Professor Zhu Jian from the University’s College of Life Science and Technology hosted the workshop, with delegates attending from academic institutes and companies across China. 

The workshop demonstrated the benefits of the cryo-SEM preparation technique on a range of specimen types, as the University’s Hitachi S3400 SEM is fitted with a Quorum Technologies PP2000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System.

Delegates were also introduced to the recently-launched PP3000T – which builds on the market-leading PP2000T and offers unsurpassed performance, automation and ease of operation.

The micrograph pictured was taken during the workshop and shows starch granules in a maize (corn). In less than 10 minutes, the specimen was frozen in slushy nitrogen and transferred into the preparation chamber to be cryo fractured, sublimated for three minutes at -90ºC and sputter coated with platinum. It was then transferred onto the SEM cold stage for observation. 

Thanks to the University of Tongji for hosting the event and providing the specimen.
Click here for further information on Quorum cryo preparation systems.