Wavelength Tech Forum: Fluorescence

November 8, 2007

This month's Technology Forum looks at the topic of fluorescence and the trends and issues surrounding it. Joining us for this discussion is Paul Orange, Strategic Development Leader, Cellular Imaging and Analysis, PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.

This month's Technology Forum looks at the topic of fluorescence and the trends and issues surrounding it. Joining us for this discussion is Paul Orange, Strategic Development Leader, Cellular Imaging and Analysis, PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.

What role will imaging and microscopy play in the future of the fluorescence industry?

(Orange) Huge. Nano-tech and reducing sample sizes will mean that high sensitivity detection devices are required to evaluate samples.

How do you think fluorescence will advance the field of clinical diagnostics?

(Orange) If used with living materials, then there is a massive impact, as many sub-cellular processes will be only visible when used with fluorescent dyes. Fluorescent dyes are already used in a clinical setting for genetic analysis, such as FISH. The likely increase of genetic analysis of clinical samples will inevitably lead to an increased demand for fluorescent technologies.

How has fluorescence had an impact on biosample analysis?

(Orange) Yes, a massive impact. Fluorescence transgenic proteins have really allowed researchers to get detailed information on the activity of subcelluar components, down to the level of individual protein species. The spectral separation of the dyes used allows multiplexing (in fluorescence microscopy, typically up to 4-plex), which when used in techniques such as FRET, allow the interactions between different proteins to be studied. Clearly the sensitivity of the dyes also has a huge impact, as they allow us to see small quantities of the analyte.

What new developments in fluorescence have you most intrigued?

(Orange) Photoswitchable and photoactivateable proteins are very interesting in biological settings as they give the ability to get more information out of a sample, and will allow a single molecule or to be studied, against a background of the entire cell. I'm also interested in compounds that enable FLIM analysis; these really take interaction studies to the next level.

What do you think?

Click here to participate in our "Question of the Month" survey on fluorescence.