Latest testimonial: A Whitley H35 Hypoxystation installed for The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) in Edinburgh

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Hypoxystation installation training

Alex Simpson at the UK DRI installing a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation and CytoSMART Lux 3 FL.

Every three minutes someone in the UK develops dementia, contributing to a total of 209,600 cases every year in the UK alone.

Don Whitley Scientific recently had the pleasure of installing not only a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation but also a CytoSMART LUX 3 FL at The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) in Edinburgh, one of the leading facilities in the UK striving to tackle dementia-causing diseases that affect so many. 

We contacted the centre to ask them about their experience with Don Whitley Scientific since the installation of their new purchases.

At the research centre in Edinburgh, Stefan Szymkowiak works alongside Mila Redzic and Alexa Jury to investigate neuroimmune mechanisms contributing to cerebrovascular causes of cognitive impairment and dementia. The H35 Hypoxystation is allowing them to specifically investigate immunometabolic responses of microglia to chronic hypoxia and decipher how this may contribute to cerebrovascular disease and its cognitive consequences.

Stefan went on to detail exactly how the H35 will benefit the progression of their research:

“The workstation will enable us to conduct in vitro experiments that will complement data emerging from in vivo models of hypoxia and cerebrovascular disease.

It allows for direct effects of hypoxia on specific cell types (isolation or mixed cultures/co-cultures) to be investigated. We will look at broad effects of hypoxia on cell morphology and evaluate impacts on cellular processes by characterising genetic, metabolic and functional changes. Examples include assessment of intracellular changes through fixing hypoxic cells or collecting cell lysates for immunocytochemistry, qPCR or western immunoblotting, as well as collecting supernatants to investigate changes in production of extracellular metabolites (e.g. lactate)”.

The CytoSMART Lux 3 FL is a vital element in this process, enabling the team at the UK DRI to observe morphological changes of cells in response to hypoxia in real time. Specifically, they have been using phase microscopy to assess microglial viability following induction of hypoxia to optimise various assay parameters including cell density, % O2 and duration of hypoxia required for future experiments. Following this they aim to utilise the Lux 3’s fluorescent settings to assess the impact of hypoxia on microglial processes including phagocytosis.

The whole team find the H35 and the Lux 3 FL to be extremely user friendly and praised the excellent training that took place upon installation. They also commented on the quality of communication throughout their entire customer journey.

Stefan then discussed the incentive behind their focus. “Our lab’s previous work on animal models of cerebrovascular disease suggests hypoxia in the brain might be one of the key stimuli driving brain pathology. Specifically, our data suggest that microglia upregulate HIF1α and this might impact their function in the context of stroke and dementia. Ongoing research therefore aims to explore microglial responses to hypoxic distress in isolation”.

When asked about the reasoning behind choosing Don Whitley Scientific, Alexa told us that as they are based in Edinburgh, being UK-based was one of the key factors in the decision-making process. The quality Don Whitley Scientific is known for was a huge selling point, reliability and accuracy is vital in cell culture research and DWS is established within this field. The ability to use the Whitley H35 Hypoxystation with other products down the line also factored into the choice of company, as our products have been used alongside a whole variety of supporting instruments over the years.

Finally, communication and support were both key elements that shone through to the team throughout the sales and installation process, with a special mention of Alex Simpson, the designated sales representative who oversaw the installation from start to finish.

Assistance from Alex as well as continued training included for no extra fee enabled the team in Edinburgh to have continued trust in Don Whitley Scientific.

We wish the team at The Edinburgh Centre for Dementia Research the best of luck with their research and look forward to working with them in the future.

Alex Simpson at the UK DRI installing a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation and CytoSMART Lux 3 FL.


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