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2007 Annual Report

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Van Andel Research

Van Andel Research Institute

Haab Invention Speeds Research and Saves Resources VARI Senior Scientific Investigator Brian Haab, Ph.D., is the inventor of the SlideImprinter, a device that partitions laboratory slides in a way that has the potential to improve research efficiency and productivity. The Gel Company, which commercially developed the device, released the new product in May 2007. Haab’s lab at Van Andel Institute, the Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics, has been using the prototype for over three years. “We didn’t originally intend to sell it,” said Haab. “But when we saw how well it worked, we realized this product had commercial potential.” Scientific researchers partition slides to test many samples at once. This process helps to speed up research and also saves resources. Haab invented the new slide partitioning method and device with assistance from David Kruithoff, an engineer now working at Lifeport, Inc., in Seattle. “I was looking at the commercially SlideImprinter (top) and imprinted slide (bottom) available options, and nothing really worked well,” Haab said. “I thought a stamp that imprints a hydrophobic border might be a good solution.” Kruithoff provided design insight and suggested using wax for the border material. The SlideImprinter, which is 6 x 6 x 10 inches in size, imprints thin wax lines onto the surface of a slide. This process creates partitions that segregate the slide into several “wells.” Researchers can choose from four standard stamps or a custom design depending on how many wells they want to create. The device immerses the stamp in a wax bath, inserts a slide into a cartridge over the bath, and then lifts the stamp to meet the slide, imprinting wax lines. The wax lines are thin enough for the slide to be used in a microarray scanner and are inert to most chemical processes so they will not dissolve easily or interfere with experiments. Haab, who has shared information about the SlideImprinter with colleagues at several scientific meetings and seminars, said he has found strong interest in the device within the research community. VARI Brian Haab, Ph.D. 15

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