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31.10.2019: Meet our SURFE²R N1 research grant winners- 2019

Introduction of the winners of the 2019 SURFE²R N1 Award

Earlier this year, Nanion announced the SURFE²R N1 grant, which gave applicants the chance to acquire a SURFE²R N1 instrument in the laboratory for a 6-month period, including assay support and consumables. After evaluation of the rather extensive number and variety of applications, the SURFE²R N1 grant evaluation committee has come to a decision.

Dr. Maria Barthmes, Product Manager for the SURFE²R product family and chair of the SURFE²R grant evaluation committee says:

The amount and quality of the applications we have received made our job very difficult, albeit very interesting because of the various areas of transporter research presented to us. Even after long and thoughtful deliberation, it has been impossible for us to decide on one single winner of the SURFE²R N1 grant.

The committee has therefore decided to grant two applicants the use of the SURFE²R N1 platform for a six-month-period of time. Additionally, two high risk and high interest projects are being evaluated internally, and the decision has been postponed until the outcome of these tests are known.

We congratulate the winners and are looking forward to seeing exciting results in the coming year. Below you find an interview with the winners where they describe what they would like to do with the SURFE²R N1 in their research, and why they applied for the grant.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Camilo Perez, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland


191030 blog image Dr. Camilo Perez, Biozentrum, University of Basel

Hi Camilo, congratulations on your win! What are you planning to do with SURFE²R N1 in your laboratory?

Camilio Perez: “ In my laboratory we investigate membrane proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis of bacterial pathogens. Some of these membrane proteins are transporters for which there is no biochemical or biophysical characterization available. Thus, one of the experiments we want to do with the SURFE²R setup is to characterize kinetic parameters of transport processes mediated by these proteins and variants. Usually one will use radiolabeled compounds to do this but performing high-throughput assays could be costly and demanding. In this sense, the SURFE²R setup is much more robust and will allow us to perform multiple experiments in a quick way and using less material. In addition, we are interested in developing novel inhibitory molecules targeting these transporters. A SURFE²R setup will allow us to screen multiple of these molecules. Our plans are to pre-select inhibitors and later study their effect on bacterial pathogens by in vivo assays. Thus, the SURFE²R setup can help us to narrow the window of compounds with interesting inhibitory properties. In addition, we will complement these studies by determining structures of the target proteins and to elucidate mechanisms of inhibition.”

Nanion: Why did you apply for the SURFE²R N1 Grant?

Camilio Perez: “During my PhD-studies, I used a previous version of the SURFE²R setup, which worked pretty well. I also know colleagues that have used it and they seem to be satisfied. Also, SSM is superior to other electrophysiological techniques in the sense that it allows to measure very low currents, as those expected from secondary transporters. Due to this, I was looking forward to trying one of the new SURFE²R setups on my own research lab. The SURFE²R grant was the perfect way to get one and see how the technique has been optimized.“

Nanion: Which properties of the SURFE²R will be of benefit to your research?

Camilio Perez: “A SURFE²R setup will allow us to perform high-throughput experiments using multiple non-labeled compounds. Also, it will also allow us to study the function and inhibition of secondary transporters in a native-like environment. With the SURFE²R setup we will be able to characterize the currents and kinetic parameters of diverse secondary transporters and pre-select inhibitory compounds that later will be studied using in vivo assays on bacterial pathogens.”

Read more about Prof. Dr. Camilo Perez’s research here.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Fotiadis, Institut für Biochemie und Molekulare Medizin, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland


191030 blog image Dr. Dimitrios Fotiadis, Institut für Biochemie und Molekulare Medizin

Nanion: Hi Dimitri, congratulations to your win! What are you planning to do with SURFE²R N1 in your laboratory

Dimitrios Fotiadis: “We are very happy to have won the SURFE²R N1 Grant and excited to test this promising technology. In a first step we will test several of our transporters that we have reconstituted into liposomes to evaluate the potential of the SURFE²R N1.”

Nanion: Why did you apply for the SURFE²R N1 Grant?

Dimitrios Fotiadis:  “In our laboratory we work on the structure and function of solute carriers (SLCs). Functional studies are ideally performed in a well-defined system, i.e., in proteoliposomes. However, most of the commonly used assays with proteoliposomes are not straight-forward and provide ambiguous results, e.g., fluorescence-based assays. Other assays such as radioligand-based transport assays work nicely, but radioligands are very expensive and numerous radiolabeled substrates for SLCs are not available commercially. In summary, the SURFE²R N1 would represent an excellent and label-free solution for the described issues.”

Nanion: Which properties of the SURFE²R will be of benefit to your research?

Dimitrios Fotiadis: “One of the great features of the SURFE²R N1 is that no radioligands are needed to measure transport function. Therefore, the SURFE²R N1 will provide the possibility to measure numerous substrates of low to high structural complexity without needing corresponding radioligands. This feature is of course also highly interesting from a financial point of view since radioligands are very costly. Another feature is the fast read out of the SURFE²R N1 that we are excited to explore – transport measurements are performed within a few seconds. Finally, we are pretty sure that the SURFE²R N1 reserves more benefits that we will discover in the upcoming training days carried out together with experienced scientists from Nanion.”

Read more about Dimitrios Fotiadis’s research here.

You can now read the official press release here.



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