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Verna Frasca
Verna Frasca received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan, and did post-doctoral training at New York State Department of Health (Albany) and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas). Dr. Frasca is joined MicroCal in 2001, and is currently the Applications Manager for MicroCal products with Malvern Instruments. Her responsibilities include supporting use of Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) in the life sciences and drug discovery and development. Dr. Frasca has extensive experience in protein expression, protein purification, enzymology, biophysical characterization, and molecular biology.

Binding affinity and Kd, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Meet the Experts, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[12 Oct 2017 | ]

Isothermal Titration Calorimetry
Molecular recognition is key in all biological processes and cellular responses. It is critical to characterize the structural and thermodynamic forces behind the recognition and specificity of macromolecular interactions in order to understand the molecular events in a cell. Several biophysical techniques (including fluorescence, circular dichroism, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance, and microscale thermophoresis) are used to characterize non-covalent molecular interactions.
Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has become a popular and versatile bioanalytical method for the direct measurement of binding affinity between interacting molecules.  ITC instruments were …

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Binding affinity and Kd, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, MicroCal, Tech Talk »

[12 Sep 2017 | ]

Binding Affinity
Understanding binding affinity is key to appreciation of the intermolecular interactions driving biological processes, structural biology, and structure-function relationships. It is also measured as part of the drug discovery process to help design drugs that bind their targets selectively and specifically.
We recently launched a new short video showcasing the MicroCal PEAQ-ITC and how it is an essential piece to any biological interaction analysis toolkit for measuring Binding affinity and stoichiometry.

The MicroCal PEAQ-ITC offers key benefits over other ITC systems including:
PEAQ-Expert: New easy-to-use software to guide your way includes built-in …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Meet the Experts, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[4 Jul 2017 | ]

Protein Antigens and DSC

This blog highlights two recent articles that focus on the use of a MicroCal Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) system.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry – A Method for Assessing the Thermal Stability and Conformation of Protein Antigen
I.B. Duruwoju, K.M. Bhandal, J. Hu, B. Carpick, and M. Kirkitadze
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), Issue 121, e55262, doi:10.3791/55262 (2017)
The authors (from Sanofi Pasteur in Toronto, Canada), provide a detailed protocol to perform Differential Scanning Calorimetry experiments on an automated DSC, such as a MicroCal VP-Capillary DSC system from Malvern Instruments.  This piece is a JoVE …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry, Molecular weight, Tech Talk »

[23 May 2017 | ]

A professional and personal view
If your newsfeed from scientific and mainstream media sources is anything like mine, you have seen numerous articles and blogs about the ‘reproducibility crisis’ in the life sciences.
Well-established cornerstones of scientific inquiry and research are the publication of findings in peer-reviewed journals, along with the opportunity for others to reproduce and verify published data.  This advancement and consolidation of knowledge leads to further understanding on how biological systems work, and provides the basis for the discovery and development of new drugs which benefit all of us.
However, there …

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Archimedes, Malvern Panalytical Events, Meet the Experts, MicroCal, OMNISEC, Viscosizer TD »

[14 Mar 2017 | ]

Malvern Instruments is known for particle sizing technologies. Did you know that many of our instruments are used to characterize proteins, nucleic acids, liposomes, exosomes, and other biomolecules?
Our instruments are used in academic and government research labs, as well as pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
In North America, we have a team of field application scientists and sales consultants who are focused on biomolecule characterization using microcalorimetry, light scattering, Taylor dispersion analysis, nanoparticle tracking analysis, resonant mass measurement, and size-exclusion chromatography.
In the upcoming months, Malvern representatives are attending the scientific conferences listed …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Label-free analysis, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[1 Mar 2017 | ]

The NEW MicroCal PEAQ-DSC – the gold standard for thermal stability determination
Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is an established biophysical tool for protein stability characterization during drug development. DSC data are used to advance the most stable and ‘developable’ proteins into the pipeline, and optimize the process and formulation conditions which will maintain protein stability during manufacturing and storage. DSC data are also important in higher order structure (HOS) protein characterization, lot-to-lot comparability, and characterization of biosimilar drugs compared to innovators.
Our previous technology, the MicroCal VP-Capillary DSC Automated system, is a …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal, Tech Talk »

[14 Feb 2017 | ]

My introduction to Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was a postdoctoral fellow in the late 1980s.  I was producing mutant forms of the enzyme thymidylate synthase, and I needed to characterize the effects amino acid changes had on the overall stability of the protein.  Using a DSC instrument at our facility, I compared the thermal stability of the different mutants to wild-type protein by ranking the thermal transition temperature (TM). As I recall, I needed about 2 mg -4 mg protein per DSC experiment, which was a lot of protein at …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Label-free analysis, Malvern Panalytical Events, Meet the Experts, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[31 Jan 2017 | ]

DSC for the regulated environment

Advancing biotherapeutic molecules along the drug development pipeline is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process. Good stability is key to a candidate’s progression, and must be assessed and reviewed throughout development – from candidate selection, through formulation development, all the way to batch-to-batch comparability or biosimilarity assessment….and beyond! Objective, reliable stability data is needed for confident decision-making about which drug products and processes to move through development into commercialization.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is a biophysical tool for protein stability characterization. The MicroCal VP-Capillary DSC system, launched in 2002, …

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Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[13 Dec 2016 | ]

Ah, the holidays are here! This is the time of year when we enjoy special ‘once a year’ holiday meals and treats with family and friends. There are the succulent cuts of meat, marbled with fat…..perhaps you have a holiday goose or duck. There are the vegetables and pastas coated with butter, cheese, or cream sauces. There are the rich, buttery desserts. Let’s not forget the candy, chips, eggnog, and almost every delicious, decadent item we eat or drink. We all have our favorite holiday dishes, which are likely high …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal »

[9 Nov 2016 | ]

I always enjoy meeting our Malvern customers whenever I travel to different sites and events. I have been assisting customers with MicroCal ITC (Isothermal Titration Calorimetry) and DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry) instruments for over 15 years, and there are customers I have known since 2001. Every time I think I “know it all” I always learn something new from our customers, such as a unique sample analyzed using our instruments, or a “trick” for sample preparation or data analysis.
Malvern Instruments recently hosted two MicroCal “User Days” in San Diego, CA …

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Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal »

[25 Oct 2016 | ]

Thermodynamics – Recap of the 30th Annual Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics 
Many scientists will recognize this equation, relating the enthalpy and entropy change of a reaction to ΔG or “Gibbs energy.”  But do you know anything about the man behind this expression of energy?
Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839 –1903), spent most of his life in New Haven, Connecticut. His work on the applications of thermodynamics was instrumental in transforming physical chemistry into a rigorous deductive science. Together with James Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann, he created statistical mechanics (a term that Gibbs coined), explaining the laws of thermodynamics as consequences of the …

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Binding affinity and Kd, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Label-free analysis, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[23 Aug 2016 | ]

Malvern Instruments is sponsoring two “MicroCal User Days” in October:

Tuesday October 18 2016: West Coast MicroCal User Day in San Diego, CA
This complimentary 1-day event will include presentations by scientists discussing how ITC and/or DSC are used as part of their research.

Invited speakers:
Bill Callahan III, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Amgen Thousand Oaks, Characterizing Amorphous Suspensions: Potential Formulation Option for Monoclonal Antibodies
Matthew McGann, Product Manager, Innovative Products, Malvern Instruments, Assessing Bioformulation Stability – From prediction to characterizing particle content

Thursday October 27 2016: New England MicroCal User Day in Cambridge, MA
Come hear from …

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[11 Aug 2016 | ]

Epigenetics – A Hot Topic in Scientific Research
If you follow scientific literature in peer-reviewed journals, as well as mainstream news and social media, you have certainly heard of epigenetics. Epigenetics has been linked to human conditions such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and depression, and is an active area for drug discovery.
What is epigenetics?
In the late 1940s, Conrad Waddington introduced the term “epigenetic” (derived from “epigenesis”) as a branch of biology for the study of the interaction between genes and their products, related to the phenotype. Currently, epigenetics refers to …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Malvern Panalytical Events »

[26 Jul 2016 | ]

Digging Deeper with Differential Scanning Calorimetry to Study Key Protein Characteristics 

Please join us for a webinar presented by Dr Katherine Bowers (Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies USA Inc.) for an informative webinar on how Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is used in protein characterization.

DSC has a long history of playing a vital role in protein biophysical studies as well as in biopharmaceutical development. From candidate selection, formulation development, stability monitoring and bio-similarity assessment, DSC still remains one of the top assays utilized in the pharmaceutical industry during the development and approval of protein-based …

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Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Meet the Experts »

[7 Jul 2016 | ]

In a recent blog, I discussed the popularity of Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC) in life sciences research, and cited the increasing number of citations found in Google Scholar searches.
A 2016 review article in Journal of Molecular Recognition by Robert J Falconer, from University of Sheffield (UK), entitled “Applications of isothermal titration calorimetry – the research and technical developments from 2011 to 2015” showed a similar growth of ITC publications.
Between 2003 and 2012, the Journal of Molecular Recognition published annual surveys of ITC research (see links below for the most recent …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry »

[31 May 2016 | ]

Microcalorimetry is hot in Brazil!
In February 2016, I participated in microcalorimetry workshops in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Carlos, Brazil. There is a long-standing and active group of calorimetry users in Brazil, and I had the opportunity to give introductory isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) presentations at each workshop. Faculty members and students presented their research projects including ITC and/or DSC results.
These workshops were coordinated by my Malvern Brazil colleague, Henrique Kajiyama. During our Brazilian tour, Henrique and I had the opportunity to speak to attendees …

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Malvern Panalytical Events, Tech Talk »

[24 May 2016 | ]

I recently had the pleasure of participating in PEGS Boston, the 12th anniversary meeting organized by Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI).  The meeting was at Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts, from April 25-29, 2016.
I was joined by my Malvern colleagues Bob Coyne (Archimedes Technical Specialist), John Rodolewicz (Life Sciences Account Manager for New England), Linda Liao (Applications Scientist), Jeff Hall (Head of Innovations Products) and Stephane Rouquette (European Sales manager).
PEGS Boston provides a forum for collaborating and sharing best practices in the areas of protein and antibody engineering, oncology, …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Electrophoretic light scattering, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Label-free analysis, Malvern Panalytical Events, MicroCal, Microcalorimetry, Molecular structure, Protein Aggregation, Raman spectroscopy, Zetasizer »

[12 May 2016 | ]

I had the pleasure of participating in the 5th International Symposium on Higher Order Structure of Protein Therapeutics, also known as HOS2016, sponsored by CASSS. The meeting was at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California April 11-13, 2016. I was joined by my Malvern colleagues Rajib Ahmed and David Sanborn.
The HOS Symposium is a platform for open discussion of development and optimization of analytical techniques to study HOS of proteins and biopharmaceutical products (including monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates), biocomparability, and biosimilars.
Protein higher order structure (HOS) includes the secondary, …

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Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Meet the Experts, MicroCal »

[15 Mar 2016 | ]

During the development of proteins for use as biopharmaceuticals, the primary structure (amino acid sequence) is important in defining protein activity. Due to the complex nature of protein drugs, compared to small molecule drugs, biophysical techniques are important tools in the characterization of the protein’s higher-order structure (HOS) to understand the protein’s stability, folding, structure, and functional activity. HOS is characterized by a variety of biophysical methods including:

Mass spectrometry (MS)
Circular dichroism (CD)
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)
Raman spectroscopy
X-ray crystallography
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
Near-UV CD
Size exclusion HPLC
Static and dynamic light scattering (SLS and …

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Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Label-free analysis, Meet the Experts, MicroCal »

[18 Feb 2016 | ]

Isothermal Titration Calorimetry: An essential tool for binding affinity measurements in life sciences research
What is Isothermal Titration Calorimetry?

Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is established in biophysical characterization circles as the “gold standard” for measuring binding affinity interactions involving proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and other biopolymers.
Since there are so many ways to measure binding affinity, why has Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC ) become the gold standard?
ITC (Isothermal Titration Calorimetry) is a direct, label-free binding assay that measures the heat change due to a binding interaction. Every binding event and chemical process gives off heat (exothermic) …

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