Editorial Article: From Contender to Unanimous Choice – When a Demo Instrument Makes a Lasting Impression

Read the story of a microvolume spectrophotometer demo instrument that impressed scientists so much it became the unanimous choice at the Royal Veterinary College, UK

12 Apr 2018


Updating lab equipment can be difficult, as scientists sometimes find it hard to let go of instruments they’ve used for years. When Dr. Frederique Guesdon, Senior Research Lab Manager at the Royal Veterinary College, was tasked with replacing their well-worn spectrophotometers that have served as faithful workhorses, she knew that the new instrument would have to make an excellent impression on the scientific staff.

 “We had two spectrophotometers that were coming to the end of their life. So, we started discussing a year and a half ago about having a look at all available instruments in terms of DNA and RNA analysis,” says Guesdon, whose role entails overseeing all research laboratories on campus, making sure they run smoothly, and purchasing any equipment as desired. 

 
The DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer made a lasting impression on the scientists at the Royal Veterinary College after a brief stint as a demo unit. The instrument has been highly rated by over 150 scientists from around the world by the SelectScience review process. (Image courtesy of DeNovix)
What is a Seal of Quality?
The SelectScience Seal of Quality program recognizes products that have consistently received the highest review ratings and aims to help scientists choose the best for their laboratories. There are four levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Many molecular biology techniques, such as PCR and RT-PCR, are commonly used at the Royal Veterinary College. “Our work is in the field of animal genetics and genomics. We’re just one step behind human genomics,” explains Guesdon. A typical project involves collecting samples from common as well as rare animal species across Africa and the U.K. “We collect tissue samples for genomics research. For instance, one project is to map the gut microbiomes of large felines in an animal reserve in Africa,” says Guesdon. “It’s very important that we use DNA/RNA instrumentation that can detect very limited quantities of nucleic acid. Sometimes we cannot spare more than 1µl of sample.”

Guesdon explains, “I contacted several suppliers to present their new equipment. After learning what each can provide, I received a total of 6 different quotes.” One of the instruments being considered was the DeNovix DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer. “The DeNovix instrument was evaluated twice for a duration of one week each time,” says Guesdon. A presentation was given during each demo evaluation period, providing scientists in the lab the opportunity to ask questions regarding the new demo instrument. “Many people attended the second DeNovix presentation, having already performed measurements, with very specific queries about settings and variables. ‘What happens if I do this… or that? What does this message mean?’ They were keen and had lots of questions,” recalls Guesdon. 

Having finally narrowed the choice down to just two contenders, it all came down to how invested the manufacturer was in providing a good experience. “There were other manufacturer presentations as well, but I don’t remember all of our questions being answered,” says Guesdon. “The representative from DeNovix was able to answer everything we asked!” 

“In the end, I simply asked for feedback from the scientists, and everyone said they liked the DeNovix instrument,” explains Guesdon. “They also liked the fact that it was maintenance free and didn’t need any service or calibration. One particular scientist in the institute, who was very involved in the evaluation process from the beginning, absolutely didn’t want an integrated screen… he wanted a separate laptop.” Guesdon continues, “At first, he resisted the DeNovix instrument. He then had a chance to try it during the demo evaluation period. What was most surprising to me was, after that, he was the most vocal about getting the DS-11 FX+ for the institute. We now own two DeNovix systems.”

The DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer is equipped with an integrated screen and user-friendly software. The instrument recently won a Platinum Seal of Quality Award from SelectScience. (Image courtesy of DeNovix)

The DeNovix DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer is the first life science instrument to be awarded the Platinum Seal of Quality by SelectScience for consistently receiving the highest review ratings.  With over 150 reviews given by scientists from around the world, the ease of use and tech savviness of the DS-11 FX+ Spectrophotometer / Fluorometer by DeNovix is evident. 

Working daily with the requirements of her scientific staff, Guesdon sees a trend in laboratory instrumentation. “Our goal will be to eliminate menial tasks for our scientists. Researchers shouldn’t need to perform time-consuming tasks that yield very little return,” says Guesdon. “We’re trying to move along a path of obtaining modern, non-standard equipment that can free up the scientists’ time, allowing them to focus on bigger projects and gather more data.”

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