Don Whitley Scientific Prize for local graduate


On July 15th, Andrew Pridmore attended a graduation day at the University of Bradford to present the Don Whitley Scientific Prize for Microbiology.  This prize, which we have sponsored for more than 25 years, is awarded to the student who achieves the highest marks in the Microbiology option of the Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) degree course at the University of Bradford.

This year’s winner was Priya Sharry-Khan, who was delighted to receive this award in addition to graduating with First Class Honours.  Priya lives in the local area and will shortly visit our laboratory to learn a little more about microbiology in practice.  We hope our contact with her may help her decide on her future career path, as she is currently uncertain which direction to take.

As mentioned, Don Whitley Scientific and the Don Whitley Scientific Prize has supported the microbiology department at the University Of Bradford for some time now with Andrew himself winning the prize in 1991, meaning it was fitting he was able to attend this graduation ceremony to award Priya with the accolade.

Priya is pictured with Dr Andrew Pridmore and Dr Anne Graham, Head of the School of Medical Sciences at Bradford.

Introducing Easy O2 Calibration

The new, fully automated oxygen calibration system that is currently available on the Whitley H135 Hypoxystation could really make a difference. This system allows you to calibrate your workstation efficiently and easily and so improve the accuracy of experimental data.

The Whitley Automated Calibration System (patent pending) is very user friendly – all you have to do is touch a couple of icons on the colour touchscreen and the routine activates. No further user intervention is required. It  takes just eight minutes to complete and readings are taken at two points – 0% oxygen and 20.9% oxygen levels. You don’t have to enter the chamber at all.

The oxygen sensor is not removed for calibration so the sensor remains within a stable environment and is not subjected to any changes in humidity and temperature when a calibration routine is conducted. Leaving the sensor in place prevents the risk of condensation forming on the component, which could affect its sensitivity, accuracy and life.

You can set the system to prompt you when the next calibration is due (from 7 – 21 days). Don Whitley Scientific recommends that calibration is conducted every two weeks. Full training, confirming how easy the routine is to perform, is provided during the workstation installation procedure. Click on the image below for a video demonstration.






Don Whitley Scientific exhibit at TCES 2015

Don Whitley scientific exhibited at TCES 2015, this annual Tissue and Cell Engineering Society event is held at the University Of Southampton between the 19th-21st of July. TCES 2015 aims to bring together outstanding national and global speakers from stem cell, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine industries, exploring how our understanding of tissue development and the resulting generation of specifiable tissues can be enhanced through stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

With special focus on “Harnessing and translating interdisciplinary research for cell and tissue engineering” the meeting features a programme of workshops and speakers in an effort to justify the excitement expressed from the public and research communities towards the affect ageing and or trauma can have on disease and the loss of tissue. Representatives from Don Whitley Scientific are attending the meeting, pictured is Daniel Secker exhibiting a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation.

Optimizing oxygen conditions enhances stem cell recovery

Two very recent papers, published in Cell and Regenerative Medicine, have described research into the advantages of reducing the oxygen exposure stem cells experience during isolation and cultivation, and the cellular mechanisms involved in translating hypoxia into increased stem cell survival and enhanced transplantation efficacy. The data presented by Mantel et al. on hematopoietic stem cells, and by Kay et al. on mesenchymal stem cells, caused quite a stir at the recent ISSCR meeting in Stockholm, as attendees discussed the implications for their own work.

Alasdair Kay and co-workers at Keele University evaluated the impact of various oxygen, glucose and serum levels on culturing human bone marrow-derived MSC’s. They found that the application of more physiological conditions, e.g. 2% oxygen instead of 21% O2 ambient, resulted in significantly increased cell yields; the highest yields were achieved in the stringently controlled hypoxic environment of a workstation. The authors attribute this to deoxygenation/reoxygenation cycles and very brief air exposure for cells cultured in an incubator, as compared to the controlled atmosphere in the workstation. Transcriptome analysis of hMSC’s cultured at 2% (incubator vs workstation) and 21% oxygen revealed scores of genes that were up or downregulated with very little overlap among the subsets. Kay et al. have identified downregulation of bone morphogenetic protein BMP2 expression, modulation of chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor CXCR2 signaling, and LEPR upregulation as causative factors for enhanced hMSC isolation at hypoxia.

The term extraphysiologic oxygen shock/stress EPHOSS for hematopoietic stem cells experiencing “hyperoxia” outside of their natural niches is introduced by Mantel et al. from Indiana University. They delineated the detrimental effects of even brief exposure of bone marrow and cord blood to ambient conditions as compared to harvesting and processing HSC’s at constant 3% hypoxia. Up to 5-fold increased cell numbers and improved engraftment of transplanted HSC’s as a result of hypoxic conditions led the authors to question the relevance of the work currently being carried out at ambient oxygen. They attribute the beneficial effects of low oxygen on the yield and function of BM and CB stem cells to reduced production of reactive oxygen species ROS, implicating the mitochondrial permeability transition pore MPTP, cyclophilin CypD, and p53 in protection from EPHOSS. Mantel et al. predict that hypoxic processing will be significant for many other cell types and phenomena such as metabolism of cancer cells and stem cell aging.

This article was written by Burga Kalz Fuller, Product Manager at HypOxygen.


Alun Kitsell, Burga Kalz Fuller and Daniel Secker
Alun Kitsell, Burga Kalz Fuller and Daniel Secker with a Whitley HI35 Hypoxystation


  1. Kay et al. “BMP2 repression and optimized culture conditions promote human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell isolation” 2015 Med. 10(2), 109-125
  2. Mantel et al. “Enhancing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation efficacy by mitigating oxygen shock” 2015 Cell 161, 1553-1565


A guide to Don Whitley Scientific at IBMS 2015

The IBMS Congress is the Institute of Biomedical Science’s bi-annual event providing three full days of active learning in science, education, training, management and leadership, held at Birmingham’s ICC on the 28-30 September. Don Whitley Scientific will once again be exhibiting its range of innovate scientific equipment and invites attendees to come and see the instruments we manufacture and learn about the solutions and service we can provide.

As well as lectures and exhibitions, IBMS will continue to have a schedule of lively social events to encourage networking and to enhance the enjoyment of the IBMS experience. To keep up to date with IBMS Congress 2015 use #ibmscongress15 or follow @BiomedScience on twitter, alternatively keep checking the Don Whitley Scientific blog and social network profiles to find out more about our involvement at one of the largest biomedical science events in Europe.

Don Whitley Scientific can be found at stand 220 in Hall 4 of the Exhibition. Admittance to the exhibition is free and the options to register can be found at:


Steve Robertson at IBMS 2013












Whitley Colour Touchscreens

Don Whitley ‘A’ and ‘H’ Workstations now feature modern, easy to use, colour touch screen interfaces. These colour touchscreens replace the gauges, dials and switches of workstations of the past and are a fitting match for the advanced scientific instruments that Don Whitley Scientific provide.  All options and settings you would expect to access on your Don Whitley workstation feature on these unique, clear displays.

• Set password protected user levels to control what can be done and by whom on the workstation

• Complete a range of functions such as O2 calibration and humidity

• Control mains power, internal lights and set audible alarms

• A generous screen size of 7”, making controlled parameters easily visible

• Download  temperature, humidity and chamber pressure data in seconds via USB

• Unique to Don Whitley workstations

Clinical Microbiology of Anaerobes – Course Success

Don Whitley Scientific recently sponsored a two day residential course delivered by the UK Anaerobe Reference Unit, Public Health Wales. The Practical & Clinical Microbiology of Anaerobes Course was held on 25-26 June in Cardiff. The event served as a refresher on culturing, identifying and being aware of the clinical importance of anaerobes. 

The 20 places available on the course were filled within a few weeks of the event being promoted, proving that the subject matter is of real interest to today’s microbiologists. Delegates came from all over the UK: from Inverness to Truro!

The aims of the course were:

  • To promote an understanding and awareness of anaerobic bacteria in clinical material
  • To gain an insight into the relevance of anaerobic bacteria in clinical microbiology
  • For delegates to achieve a basic level of competence in methods used for the isolation and identification of anaerobes
  • To improve the standards of anaerobic microbiology in clinical laboratories.

Trefor Morris, Lead Scientist of the UKARU, said:

“I am very proud of the commitment and dedication of my team in delivering such an excellent course. The positive feedback shows that we must continue to use our expertise to reinforce the importance of anaerobic bacteria, particularly in the face of the challenges of antimicrobial resistance. Indeed the fact that the course is already almost full for next year is testament to the level of interest and its unique nature.”

“I am also particularly happy that the delegates found the course friendly and interesting highlighted by the comments below:”

“A friendly, knowledgeable and very interesting course that I would recommend to anyone.”

“Very friendly atmosphere throughout the course, very knowledgeable and helpful staff during practical.”

“Really enjoyed the course, excellently organised and learnt lots to take back to my laboratory.”

“A fantastic course, the human clinical case presentations were very interesting.”


Don Whitley Scientific arranged for the use of a Whitley A55 Anaerobic Workstation for the course.


A Don Whitley A55 Workstation
A Whitley A55 Anaerobic Workstation

Cancer Conference Targets Metastatic Disease

Don Whitley Scientific sponsored the 2015 Beatson International Cancer Conference, which was held yesterday at the Beatson Institute in Glasgow. The meeting, entitled Control of Cell Polarity and Movement in Cancer, highlighted recent exciting research into the molecular and cellular events that contribute to loss of epithelial polarity during carcinogenesis, and how cancer cells acquire different types of polarity that enable them to migrate and invade. There was also a focus on the avenues for development of agents to target cells with aberrant polarity and a potential route to treatment of metastatic disease.

Attending from Don Whitley Scientific were Danny Secker (pictured) and Steve Robertson, who demonstrated a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation to delegates.

SfAM Summer Conference

Don Whitley Scientific exhibited at this year’s Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) Summer Conference, which was held in Dublin on 29 June to 2 July. The event was entitled “Fermented Foods and Beverages” and we took along a Protos 3 Automated Colony Counter and Whitley Automated Spiral Plater (WASP).

SfAM ran a competition for delegates and our donated prize, a hamper filled with goodies manufactured in Yorkshire, was won by Ogechukwu Elizabeth Okpalanozie of the University Of Lagos (pictured with Don Whitley).