2020 will see the prestigious Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators turn 25 years. This will be celebrated with an event welcoming back high-calibre Award Alumni to talk about their science and careers: The Young European Investigators Conference held at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, on June 25, 2020. This free one-day conference is open to all scientists in biomedical research. The scientific program is organized by former winners Simon Boulton (The Francis Crick Institute, United Kingdom) and Óscar Fernández-Capetillo (CNIO, Spain & Karolinska Institute, Sweden). The event includes networking coffee breaks and lunch and a gala buffet in the evening. It will be rounded off with a talk from the newly minted 2020 Award winner.
“I am really excited about the meeting which shows that the science done by previous winners of the EYIA is indeed outstanding!”
Jury Chairman Reinhard Jahn
The Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators, endowed with 20,000 EUR, is granted annually to an early career scientist in Europe for outstanding contributions to biomedical research. It has been awarded, in partnership with Nature, since 1995.
To become the 25th winner of the Eppendorf Award, researchers in Europe up to 35 years with an advanced degree in the field of biomedical research can apply online between October 1, 2019, and January 15, 2020, at www.eppendorf.com/award/application
The winner is selected by an independent expert committee chaired by Reinhard Jahn (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany).
Quick liquid extraction
New tube format
The new conical tube format of 25 mL, developed by the inventor of the “Eppi” tube, will advance the world of conical tubes. Working with sample volumes between 15 mL and 25 mL – often used in bacterial/microorganism culture as well as during purification of plasmid DNA/biomolecules, in cell culture or during assay preparation, leaves no option to researchers but to work with a traditional high-volume tube like the 50 mL conical tube. In recognition of this fact, Eppendorf has developed the Eppendorf Conical Cube 25 mL – available with either the new, patented SnapTec cap or with screw cap.
These conical tubes have the same diameter as conventional 50 mL conical tubes but a ~20 % lower height. This allows space-saving storage, for example in freezers. Additionally, the consumption of valuable raw material is reduced by 26 % for the screw cap 25 mL conical tube and by 20 % for the SnapTec cap 25 mL conical tube compared to a conventional 50 mL tube. Proportionally, laboratory waste of conical tubes will therefore also be reduced.
The wide opening, combined with the lower height, offers easy sample access. When working with low-volume pipettes and tips, the risk of cross-contamination between pipette and tube by touching the inner tube wall is reduced to a minimum. Premium raw materials, without the use of plasticizers and biocides during manufacturing, ensure highest sample integrity and optimal sample and pellet visibility.
The most innovative feature is the patented Snap Tec cap, which is unique within the conical tubes market. This cap is firmly connected to the tube. No need to put the cap on the bench, running the risk that caps from different tubes may become mixed up or contaminated. The Snap Tec cap allows single-handed opening and closing for quick liquid extraction or addition of sample. This is particularly advantageous in multistep lab protocols.
Of course, the Conical Tubes 25 mL are directly deployable. Straightforward integration into the existing laboratory environment is ensured. Concurrently, Eppendorf provides a full system of components. Adapters for both tube variants to be used in centrifugation rotors for 50 mL conical tubes are available, as well as adapters for Eppendorf Thermo Mixer C and Thermostat C, Tube Holder for Eppendorf Mix Mate, Storage Box, Tube Rack and Single Tube Stand.
The circulators of the Corio series will replace the successful Economy series models and will give users improved performance specifications, expanded functionality, and even greater value for the money. Julabo circulators are used worldwide for applications in research, science, laboratories, pilot plants, and the process industry.
Evonik and Siemens are planning to use electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to convert carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals. The two companies are working on electrolysis and fermentation processes in a joint research project called Rheticus. The project was launched today and is due to run for two years. The first test plant is scheduled to go on stream by 2021 at the Evonik facility in Marl, Germany which produces chemicals such as butanol and hexanol, both feedstocks for special plastics and food supplements, for example. The next stage could see a plant with a production capacity of up to 20,000 tonnes a year. There is also potential to manufacture other specialty chemicals or fuels. Some 20 scientists from the two companies are involved in the project.
“We are developing a platform that will allow us to produce chemical products in a much more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way than we do today”, explains Dr. Günter Schmid, technical project responsible of Siemens Corporate Technology. “Using our platform, operators will in future be able to scale their plants to suit their needs.” The new technology combines multiple benefits. It not only enables chemicals to be produced sustainably, it also serves as an energy store, can respond to power fluctuations and help stabilize the grid. Rheticus is linked to the Kopernikus Initiative for the energy transition in Germany which is seeking new solutions to restructure the energy system. The Rheticus project will receive 2.8 million euros in funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
“With the Rheticus platform, we want to demonstrate that artificial photosynthesis is feasible”, adds Dr. Thomas Haas, who is responsible for the project in Evonik’s strategic research department Creavis. Artificial photosynthesis is where CO2 and water are converted into chemicals using a combination of chemical and biological steps, in a process similar to how leaves use chlorophyll and enzymes to synthesize glucose.
Siemens and Evonik are each contributing their own core competencies to this research collaboration. Siemens is providing the electrolysis technology, which is used in the first step to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) using electricity. Evonik is contributing the fermentation process, converting gases containing CO into useful products by metabolic processes with the aid of special micro-organisms. In the Rheticus project, these two steps – electrolysis and fermentation – are scaled up from the laboratory and combined in a technical test facility.
“Rheticus brings together the expertise of Evonik and Siemens. This research project shows how we are applying the Power-to-X idea”, says Dr. Karl Eugen Hutmacher from the BMBF. Using electricity to generate chemicals is an idea from the Power-to-X concept. As one of the four pillars of the Kopernikus Initiative, the idea is to help convert and store renewable, electrical energy efficiently. At the same time, the Rheticus platform also contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, as it uses CO2 as a raw material. Three tons of carbon dioxide would be needed to produce one tonne of butanol, for example.
Evonik and Siemens see great future potential in the Rheticus platform. It will make it simple to scale plants to the desired size – the chemical industry will be able to adapt them flexibly to local conditions. In future, they could be installed anywhere where there is a source of CO2 – power plant waste gas or biogas for instance.
“Its modular nature and flexibility in terms of location, raw material sources and products manufactured make the new platform attractive for the specialty chemicals industry in particular”, says Haas. “We are confident that other companies will use the platform and integrate it with their own modules to manufacture their chemical products”, adds Schmid.
Cover picture: In the fermentation process—here at lab scale—, special bacteria are converting CO-containing gases to valuable chemicals through metabolic processes. (Source: Evonik)