By Peter Hayes, PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
I recently had the opportunity to visit LumaCyte at their corporate headquarters in Charlottesville. With little knowledge of Radiance prior to my visit, I was surprised how quickly I became an experienced user capable of running samples and analyzing data. While the Laser Force Cytology and microfluidic design of Radiance are complex and intricate, the instrument itself was created with the end user in mind. After a morning of observation and training, I was able to confidently run samples on the Radiance instrument by the afternoon.
During my stay, I ran duplicate experiments of 48 samples, each including control versus baculovirus infected Sf9 insect cells run across different days. Within minutes of starting the Radiance sequence, clear differences based on the average population velocity through the channel could be drawn, distinguishing the control cells and infected cells. These results were basically instantaneous compared to the rate of the current gold standard plaque assays. Additionally, the analysis software of Radiance is extremely versatile as it provides the ability to automatically sort through the metrics collected and classify different cell populations within a sample based on masks. This was powerful because it gave another clearly distinctive metric, for example, the fraction of slow moving cells in the population. One reason the Radiance instrument is so impressive is the number of metrics the instrument can measure in real time. The ability to track so many parameters will make Radiance suited to many single-cell based applications. The analysis can draw on a number of intrinsic measurements to find a quantifiable difference between cell samples and treatment conditions.
Furthermore, the results from Radiance were very consistent and reproducible. Over the course of my four-day visit, clear differences were seen between the control and infected sf9 cells which had nearly identical velocities (optical force) within their respective conditions across the four days. Especially when dealing with biology where experimental reproducibility can be difficult, it was impressive to see such consistent results and for those results to come in real time. As a student researcher, I am happy to see that LumaCyte’s innovative technology is focused on user experience and ease of use. This combined with delivering results within minutes of running a sample and being able to reproduce experiments days later with precision and accuracy, makes Radiance an incredibly powerful technology. I look forward to working with the LumaCyte team again in the weeks ahead!