An ‘Electrifying’ Advance for Lab Instrumentation

Human Brain Health with ECG

(DGIwire) – In its broadest sense, electrophysiology is the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues. It involves measurements of voltage change or electric current on a wide variety of scales, from single ion channel proteins to whole organs such as the heart. In neuroscience, it includes measurements of the electrical activity of neurons.

According to EP Lab Digest, the market for electrophysiology devices is forecast to rise to $4.4 billion in 2015. Researchers have a large array of techniques at their disposal. For example, intracellular recording—which involves measuring voltage and/or current across the membrane of a cell—can involve any of a number of apparatus such as voltage clamps, current clamps and patch clamps, each of which measures the membrane’s electrical potential in a different way.

Although the details of each technique are technical, their wide applicability is made clear by the number of sub-varieties of electrophysiology. In addition to electrocardiography for the heart, electroencephalography for the brain and electrocorticography for the cerebral cortex, there is also electromyography for the muscles, electrooculography for the eyes and several others.

Innovation in these areas begins in the laboratory, which is estimated to be a $100- $130 million market, so it is important that labs have the most advanced electrophysiological equipment at their disposal. One of the leading companies that makes this possible is Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience, Inc., which has been a global leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of a broad array of scientific instruments and apparatus used to advance life sciences research at university, government and clinical laboratories as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. The company sells products in more than 100 countries to thousands of researchers.

Harvard Bioscience recently acquired two privately held life science companies: Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH, headquartered in Reutlingen, Germany, and Triangle BioSystems, Inc., based in Durham, North Carolina. Both companies are key developers of equipment in the field of electrophysiology. Multi Channel Systems MCS is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of instrumentation for extracellular recording and stimulation, while Triangle BioSystems is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of wireless neural interface equipment to aid in vivo neuroscience research, especially in the fields of electrophysiology, psychology, neurology and pharmacology. Their acquisitions substantially bolster Harvard Bioscience’s leadership within the electrophysiology market.

Jeffrey A. Duchemin, President and CEO of Harvard Bioscience, says, “It is our aim to become a true global leader in electrophysiology, an important segment in both academic research and drug discovery. We believe our electrophysiology instrumentation line—now stronger due to our recent acquisitions—will give lab researchers the tools they need to advance the field.”

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