--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--
August 29, 2011
Streamlining the Research Pipeline: Bigelow Laboratory Signs Master Professional Research Services Agreement with Fluid Imaging Technologies, Inc.
WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME -- Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has signed a long-term Master Professional Research Services Agreement with Fluid Imaging Technologies, Inc. (FIT). Based in Yarmouth, Maine, FIT produces industry-leading particle analysis instrumentation based upon digital imaging. One of FIT’s major products is an instrument known as the FlowCAM®, which uses technology first developed at Bigelow Laboratory to provide automated particle analysis by using digital imaging to measure the size and shape of microscopic particles in fluids.
“The FlowCAM® was initially used to analyze water samples for oceanographic research and in freshwater applications such as municipal water systems,” said FIT’s CEO Kent Peterson. “We soon found that FlowCAM® technology was very well suited for non-aquatic applications, and began selling this product to markets in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, chemical, abrasives and plastics industries, among many others.”
According to Mark Bloom, Bigelow Laboratory’s Director of Corporate Alliances and Technology Transfer, Bigelow Laboratory and FIT have been intimately connected since the company spun-off from the Laboratory in 1999.
“Since that time, FIT has grown into a world-class scientific instrument developer and manufacturer and Bigelow continues to be involved in the testing of each new generation of the FlowCAM® imaging particle analysis system,” Bloom said. “Our Master Agreement significantly streamlines the process by which FIT can sponsor Bigelow-based research projects.”
Among other things, the Master Agreement addresses key legal issues such as intellectual property and data ownership, publication of research results and indemnification against liabilities. According to Bloom, the Master Agreement creates a framework through which a truly collaborative partnership between Bigelow and FIT is created.
“It’s been my experience that many companies shy away from working so closely with academic institutions, but FIT is a very progressive in that regard and embraces it,” noted Bloom. “As a result, FIT will be able to take full advantage of Bigelow's scientific and technical expertise.”
The FlowCAM® System is an integral part of microbial oceanography research at Bigelow Laboratory, and is extensively used in the Laboratory’s J. J. MacIsaac Facility for Aquatic Cytometry.
“FlowCAM® is a key part of our facility at Bigelow Laboratory” said Bigelow Research Scientist Dr. Nicole Poulton. “Having this instrument available on ships is an enormous help to scientists who need to analyze cells from fresh samples during research cruises for quantification and biomass determination.”
FlowCAM® is also used by Bigelow Laboratory’s Ocean Observing and Ocean Optics research team, facilitating analysis of the effects of changing environmental conditions on the calcifying plankton that absorb carbon and reflect light over vast areas of the ocean.
The instrument is currently part of the imaging platform on Tara Oceans, an oceanographic research vessel currently sailing around the world to study effects of climate change and ocean acidification on the microscopic communities at the base of marine food web. Poulton and Bigelow Senior Research Scientist Dr. Mike Sieracki have joined this expedition as Chief Scientists at various points in the voyage over the past two years to train the Tara Oceans science team how to use the FlowCAM® system on board the ship.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences an independent, non-profit center for global ocean research, ocean science education, and technology transfer. The Laboratory’s research ranges from microbial oceanography to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions. A recognized leader in Maine's emerging innovation economy, Bigelow Laboratory is spurring significant economic growth in the state through construction of a major Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay. The Laboratory’s Office of Corporate Alliances and Technology Transfer serves as a bridge between discovery science and commercialization partners.
Since 1999, Fluid Imaging Technologies, Inc. has been providing innovative imaging-based particle analysis products and services on a global scale, with a world-class commitment to customer service, quality, and value. The FlowCAM® System and VisualSpreadsheet© Particle Analysis Software are its flagship products. Photo: Plankton images from FlowCAM® courtesy of Fluid Imaging Technologies. ####