National Horizons Centre uses the SpectraMax iD5 & SoftMax Pro Software to train the next generation of scientists


National Horizons Centre, Teesside University


Dr. John Mina, Dr. Jen Vanderhoven (Director)


SpectraMax iD5 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader

SoftMax Pro Software

The Challenge

A UK centre of excellence for the bioscience industry

Opened in Spring 2019, the National Horizons Centre (NHC) is an exciting £22M state-of-the art, purpose-built bioscience facility in the North of the UK, offering research, education and collaboration between industry and academia in the UK bioscience industry. The NHC core strengths cover bioprocessing and manufacturing, disease-specific research, underpinning digital technologies for bioscience research and environmental impact research.

A major focus of the NHC is to train the next generation of scientists and biotechnologists to help fulfil the expected demand in these sectors, in alignment with the UK bioeconomy vision. Biochemical and in vitro assays are considered the central hub of almost all biology and biotechnological research and students are given access to the NHC laboratories and equipment to undertake a variety of assays for challenging bioscience projects. These include identifying novel drug targets in protozoan parasites, studying virus-host cell interactions, screening libraries of compounds against enzyme targets and determinations of logIC50, and molecular dissection of the underlying mechanisms of different cancer types. Such experimental works relies heavily on the use of absorbance and fluorescence-based medium-throughput (96- and 384-well plates) biochemical assays, ranging from determination of protein concentration to ELISA assays.

To accommodate the varied setups of different experimental designs, e.g. absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence assays, the use of flexible multi-mode microplate readers is a must, as is having a way to simplify microplate data acquisition and rapidly analyse the resulting data.

John Mina uses SpectraMax iD5

The Solution

The NHC team chose a SpectraMax iD5 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader, which enables researchers to measure a variety of assays including absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence, as well as TRF and FP. SoftMax Pro 7 Software comes with a massive library of preconfigured protocols including plate layout and subsequent analyses that expedite the workflow and ensure reproducibility of results.

Products Used

The SpectraMax iD5 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader measures absorbance, fluorescence, luminescence, TRF and FP, and can be expanded to include TR-FRET, HTRF, BRET, dual luciferase reporter assays with injectors, and western blot detection.

Industry-leading SoftMax Pro Software is designed to provide the simplicity, flexibility and power required for advanced data analysis. It provides ready-to-run protocols, analysis algorithms, and 21 different curve fit options. Every step is optimized for data acquired from a Molecular Devices microplate reader or data imported from another source to simplify analysis and reporting.

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The Results

The team are planning to use the SpectraMax iD5 System to run \~10-15 96-well plates/week and \~2-3 384-well plates/week. Students will also be using SoftMax Pro Software for analysis several times a week.

Dr John Mina, a researcher and lecturer at the NHC says, “SoftMax Pro software provides several advantages with the pre-setup features of enzyme kinetics and automated analyses. It also provides the flexibility to build custom complex protocols comprising different readouts that result in expediting the workflow while allowing undergraduates and junior researchers to learn during hands-on experiences without slowing down access to the final results”.


Find out more about the National Horizons Centre