Lab instructors and professors are constantly battling to keep undergraduate teaching lab content updated and relevant to the latest industry trends and techniques. How many times have you heard students mention how they can’t make a link between teaching lab material and what goes on in lecture? Undergraduate labs get left behind because instructors are busy with the most important job – ensuring that their students can have enough hands-on experience to innovate and make an impact in the industry they were trained for. This is not a simple task – developing new labs is a time consuming and expensive process, so undergraduate labs at universities and colleges often can’t keep up with the latest industry trends. Scientists are a driving force in the global economy, so it is absolutely critical for universities and colleges to remain competitive by adopting modern technologies that will help train students for their careers in both academic research and industry.
Why is surface plasmon resonance (SPR) critical for teaching labs?
SPR is a dominant technique in the pharma industry. It is used by every pharmaceutical company and thousands of biotech companies around the world, as well as most large academic and research institutions. SPR is a label-free technology which allows researchers to quantitatively analyze binding kinetics of molecular interactions. SPR technology allows us to determine the kon, koff and KD of interactions, providing deeper insight into binding events compared to other techniques that only give endpoint measurements, such as pull-down assays. This data is important because kinetic constants are critical for helping scientists understand how diseases work, helping them design the next blockbuster drug and ensuring that biosimilars meet FDA regulations.
This technique is not taught in undergraduate teaching labs because most SPR instruments are very complex and expensive. Students are missing out by not learning about binding kinetics and the experimental skills needed to conduct these experiments at an earlier stage in their careers. With the introduction of OpenSPR, students and instructors finally have access to SPR technology that is user-friendly, easy to maintain, and most importantly, within the budget.
“But I don’t have time to develop an SPR lab!”
You would probably love to implement SPR and binding kinetics into your labs, but you don’t have the time to develop the experiments, protocols, and documentation. You’re a busy lab instructor with a thousand things and your plate – we get it. That’s why we developed the OpenSPR Educational Kits. These kits are turn-key “experiments in a box” – they include all of the buffers, reagents, protocols, and documentation you need to get your teaching lab running in no time. Our kits are all based on industry-relevant applications, so you can be sure students are getting real world experience. They have also been designed to be affordable for teaching lab budgets, and are flexible enough to accommodate many different group sizes and lab formats. Download our application note to learn more about our first Educational Kit, CD16.
The binding of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to the CD16a Fc Receptor
CD16a is an Fc receptor protein found on the surface of certain immune cells. The CD16a receptor binds to the Fc region of immunoglobulin G (IgG). CD16a binding assays are essential for the development and production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Biotinylated CD16a is immobilized to a streptavidin sensor chip and binding kinetics determined using three concentrations of the Fc fragment of IgG. The data is fit to a one-on-one binding model and the kinetic constants and affinity determined. CD16a binding illustrates an important interaction with industry relevance which allows students to understand the SPR technique step-by-step and gain valuable hands-on experience.
Figure 1. Binding curves of IgG binding to CD16a using OpenSPR