For nearly 20 years Aurora Scientific has been at the forefront of cardiac tissue mechanics research. Aurora Scientific equipment is used by many of the world’s top researchers studying isolated heart tissue, fibers and even cells. We understand that heart muscle is different from other types of muscle and that its study presents unique challenges. Whether measuring force in cardiac myocytes or quantifying the mechanical properties of iPSC-derived cardiac scaffolds, Aurora Scientific has the expertise and the instruments to support the most demanding of cardiac mechanics experiments.
The Study Of Heart Muscle Tissue and How to Preserve It
myosin thick & thin filaments, myofibrillar protein function, cardiac scaffolds & constructs, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes, cross -bridge cycling kinetics, artificial cardiac constructs, cardiac tissue engineering
Dr. Frank Brozovich – Mayo Clinic, Rochester
I have used Aurora Scientific equipment in my laboratory for over 15 years, and there is no question that it just works, day after day. Aurora Scientific’s expertise is reflected in the easy to use platform that is truly plug and play. Over the years, I have recommended Aurora to many colleagues, and no one has been disappointed.
1400A – Durable System Helps Researcher Study Thousands of Fibers
In 2004, Dr. Hans Degens was studying changes in skeletal muscle function and morphology. Dr. Degens was looking to use permeabilized fibers as his test samples as they represent a pure system for studying cross-bridge mechanics without bias and artifacts.
Dr. Degens was familiar with the experimental methodology of using skinned fibers but lacked the resources to build a system from scratch that could handle the higher throughput demands of testing human samples.
Aurora Scientific had recently released the 1400A system. This system featured an automatically indexing chamber enabling maximization of fiber throughput. The design also eliminated any manual bath movement, commonly found in designs at the time, thereby protecting the sensitive transducer from breakage. Dr. Degens’ system was also the first to feature peltier driven temperature control, allowing for extremely stable and precise bath temperatures, critical to these measurements. The powerful 600A digital controller has allowed for nearly every experimental protocol conceived to be executed by the instruments themselves.
The system has been in nearly constant use in Dr. Degens’ lab for the last 11 years and has helped him collect data required for many influential and fascinating studies in exercise physiology, comparative biology and cardiovascular health amongst countless others. This initial partnership with Aurora Scientific has led to other projects in whole muscle physiology as well.
950A – Software Module Helps Synchronize Cutting-Edge Data in Myocyte Research
In late 2013 Dr. Chris Ward of the University of Maryland was working on improving experimental techniques for measuring force, SL and calcium release in single, living myocytes from the FDB muscle.
Dr. Ward had been a long time user of our equipment and was already using our 600A and HVSL software programs to record force and SL. However, he had been using another lab-built solution to measure calcium and was searching for a way to easily synchronize all three measurements.
The Aurora Scientific FluoroTrack software proved to be the missing piece. FluoroTrack allowed real-time monitoring of calcium transients and integrated seamlessly with the existing HVSL and 600A programs. In addition, Aurora Scientific made minor customizations to be compatible with Dr. Ward’s existing light source and calcium measurement instruments.
After making these configurations Dr. Ward was able to begin collecting synchronized data almost immediately. This integration provided a single, time-stamped file for easy collection and analysis of force, SL and calcium from FDB cells. The data collected were presented at a Biophysical Society meeting two months later and has gone on to be published. The system is still an integral part of Dr. Ward’s research and the software continues to evolve and be improved thanks to feedback from Dr. Ward’s lab and other researchers.
801C – Ability to Assess Oxygen Consumption/Customization
In 2008 Dr. Carter Ralphe at the University of Wisconsin was attempting to measure force and contractility in his tissue constructs in an oxygen sealed environment.
Without the time to develop a custom solution, Dr. Ralphe sought help from equipment suppliers. Unfortunately he wasted a lot of time and money trying equipment from other manufacturers that didn’t work. Although another manufacturer finally refunded his money it took more time and effort to get them to agree to take back their product.
Dr. Ralphe consulted with Aurora Scientific for the design of a customized oxygen sealing lid that would work with a modified version of our 801C. The redesign allowed the unit to function in oxygen consumption mode or in a regular bath configuration. The customized chamber also allowed easy integration of Aurora Scientific’s industry leading 400 Series transducers, which had the sensitivity required for the small and delicate constructs to be tested.
With this instrument, Dr. Ralphe was able to successfully complete his experiments and go on to publish influential results. He now has two units, expanding his research capabilities. Dr. Ralphe has also recommended the device to other researchers who, themselves, have gone on to publish. The 801C-300 has since become essentially a standard modification and a part of our 1500A series of small intact muscle test systems.
1600A – Turnkey Solution Aids Characterization of Cardiac Cell Mechanics in Heart Failure
Dr. Jonathan Kirk was working as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. David Kass’ lab at Johns Hopkins University who had acquired his own custom built equipment for testing mechanics of heart failure in skinned cardiomyocytes.
When Dr. Kirk secured a faculty position at Loyola University in Chicago, he did not have the means to fabricate his own custom apparatus and stages to characterize cardiomyocyte function. He also needed to find a way to integrate his own stepper motor for small-scale length changes in single cell preparations while measuring and monitoring sarcomere length.
Aurora Scientific had worked closely with Dr. Kirk and Dr. Kass previously so we knew we would be able to provide him a complete solution for his new lab. The 1600A Permeabilized Myocyte System was the answer as it included our 803B 8-well skinned myocyte apparatus for various calcium concentrations, 3-axis motorized stages and a complete data acquisition and analysis system. Furthermore, Aurora Scientific provided our 400A series high-resolution force transducer and incorporated our video sarcomere length software (VSL) and camera for measuring and monitoring sarcomere spacing.
The permeabilized myocyte system was provided to Dr. Kirk, which was easily mounted on an inverted microscope and combined with motorized stages to deliver precise control of the transducer and motor for cell attachment and testing. Furthermore, the 8-well bath plate allowed for quick determination of force-pCA in these cells. Additionally, our data acquisition software and VSL enabled full integration of Dr. Kirk’s stepper motor for precise length changes, easily monitored using the VSL camera. The 1600A has provided Dr. Kirk with a system that will allow him to characterize mechanics of heart failure and discover the mechanisms involved, leading the way to the development of potentially ground-breaking treatments for humans with this condition.