Biological Science Students Elle Sorensen and Georgina Hornsby using the Äkta Start FPLC system in a laboratory at University of Limerick
Biological Science Students Elle Sorensen and Georgina Hornsby using the Äkta Start FPLC system in a laboratory at University of Limerick
Thursday, 18 May 2023

Cutting-edge new technology at University of Limerick is empowering students with advanced skills.

The Department of Biological Sciences at UL recently acquired fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) and next generation sequencing (NGS) instrumentation, enabling undergraduate students in the BSc in Bioscience programme to gain hands-on experience that will benefit them in their future careers.

FPLC is a type of chromatography system used primarily for protein isolation, which is critical for the production of biopharmaceuticals and antibodies. As all major companies in the field are moving towards biopharma, the ability to isolate protein is increasingly in demand, and FPLC systems are essential in this process.

With this new equipment, students at UL will have hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology that is becoming increasingly important in the Biotech industry.

In addition, the Department of Biological Sciences has also introduced NGS equipment. NGS is a revolutionary way to read and analyse vast amounts of genetic information (DNA or RNA) rapidly and accurately. It allows researchers to investigate multiple genes simultaneously, giving them a better understanding of which genes are being actively expressed in cells at any given time.

By comparing the NGS profiles of cancer cells to normal cells, researchers can identify which genes are overexpressed or underexpressed in cancer cells, providing important insights into the underlying mechanisms of cancer development and progression.

Dr Jakki Cooney, Foundation Course Director for Bioscience and Course Director for the MSc in Biomolecular Science, said: “The addition of these technologies at undergraduate level will provide students with a significant edge in the workforce, as they will be able to say they have hands-on experience with the latest and most advanced instrumentation in the field. These new additions demonstrate the dedication we have towards our students, giving them the best possible education and equipping them with the skills and experience they need to succeed in their chosen career.”

Dr James Brown, Lecturer in Cell Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences welcomed the addition of next-generation sequencing to the teaching curriculum in the department.

“The addition of this new instrumentation will allow students to learn and practice the advanced skills needed to prepare and process DNA samples, run them on the NGS platform and interpret the results. This will give them an understanding of how NGS is being applied to advance precision medicine and give them the practical skillset required to do NGS themselves.”

Students from second year onwards will benefit from hands-on experience of these new technologies. For more, see here: