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Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Contact: Tim Mullane  
  Biolog, Inc.
  (510) 785-2564 ext. 319
New Phenotype MicroArrays™ Allow Speedy Global Analysis of Thousands of Cell haracteristics

Los Angeles, CA - At today's "Post-Genomics: Gene Expression Profiling and Beyond" session of the 100th meeting of the American Society of Microbiology, Barry R. Bochner, Ph.D. presented the first major public unveiling of Biolog's Phenotype MicroArray™ (PM) technology. In an address entitled, "Phenotype MicroArrays™ for Genomic Studies," Dr. Bochner discussed a novel technology developed by Biolog, Inc., a Hayward, California company. Dr. Bochner is one of the country's leading experts in the rapid analysis of cell phenotypes (observable characteristics of cell) and a founder of Biolog.

According to Dr. Bochner, "The technology now exists to rapidly assess literally thousands of phenotypes simultaneously in a very simple, efficient, cost effective, high-throughput standardized format. PMs were originally developed for use with bacteria and fungi, but soon we will be able to apply them also to analyze genes and other functions in human cells." PMs are in a standard microtiter plate format, with each well containing a different cell culture medium designed to test a single unique phenotype or cell function. After adding the cells to be analyzed to the microtiter wells they are incubated, typically for 24 to 48 hours, and their phenotypic behavior is observed and recorded using a newly developed instrument called the OmniLog®.

PMs can monitor, either directly or indirectly, most aspects of cell function. These include: cell-surface binding and transport functions; catabolism (growth promoting metabolism of basic nutrients) of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur; biosynthesis; cellular architecture; cellular respiration; stress and repair functions; and other cellular properties.

According to Dr. Bochner, PMs are analogous to high-throughput DNA microarrays in that both can scan the whole cell and are useful in determining gene function. He points out, however, that they differ in that DNA microarrays measure thousands of genes under one cellular condition, while Phenotype MicroArrays measure one gene under thousands of cellular conditions. "With the sequencing phase of the Human Genome Project drawing to a conclusion, many genes have been identified," said Dr. Bochner. "But the need now is to understand those genes and their function in much greater detail."

The last several years have seen a revolution in many aspects of high-throughput technologies being applied to biological research and development. The major technologies (DNA synthesis and sequencing, combinatorial chemistry, and DNA microarrays) have grabbed the attention of scientists because they greatly extend the scope and efficiency of methods that were previously slow, inefficient, and expensive. Furthermore they are very useful and broadly applicable "platform" technologies.

Biolog's PM technology is also a broadly applicable "platform" technology. It is the first technology that can address the general needs of testing at the cellular level and it will create many new opportunities in research and development for laboratories that aggressively adopt its use.

For more information, contact Tim Mullane (CEO) at Biolog at (510) 785-2564 ext. 319 or visit the Biolog website at