Hello Dr. Tanaka, could you please summarize your research for us?
At Elixirgen Scientific, we have developed our Quick-TissueTM technology that accelerates and removes the complexity from the stem cell differentiation process. It’s our mission to ensure that this technology can reach every lab, so that induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be the enabling innovation they were meant to be — accelerating advancements in human health through more accurate human cell-based models. Our technology uses a cocktail of essential transcription factors to drive rapid stem cell differentiation in as little as 10 days without introducing a genetic footprint. Our portfolio includes iPSC-derived cells, differentiation kits, and services for a variety of neuronal cell types, including GABAergic, dopaminergic, cholinergic, and mixed neurons with more cell types on the way.
Could you describe the way you are using MaxTwo for your research?
Our main purpose of using MaxTwo is to assess the quality and maturation of the human iPSC-derived neurons we produce using our Quick-TissueTM technology. Our recent data using MaxTwo show that our Mixed Neurons, which are a mixed population of neuron subtypes, fire synchronized bursts within two weeks when co-cultured with human primary astrocytes as detailed in our MaxTwo Application Protocol.
Which specific feature(s) do you like most about MaxTwo?
Unlike other commercially available MEA systems, MaxTwo has an outstanding capability to measure and track action potentials in single neurons due to how the electrodes are arrayed in such a high density manner. Because of this feature, even if neurons aggregate locally, which is one of the major problems in MEA assays, neurons are likely making contacts with some of the electrodes and so action potentials can be measured effectively. By measuring the velocity that the action potential propagates through single axons, the maturity of single neurons can be quantitatively defined. Potentially, users would be able to differentiate action potentials measured on axons from ones on dendrites, which is impossible with other MEA systems.
Have there been any challenges and how did MaxWell Biosystems help to resolve them?
We started to implement MEA assays in our quality assurance program about one year ago and our experience with MEA data analysis was very limited at the time. Although the software that comes with MaxTwo is easy to handle, the support we receive from the MaxWell Biosystems team has always been quick and comprehensive. We have learned a lot about data acquisition and analysis through our interactions with the MaxWell Biosystems support team.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
We are quite pleased to have MaxTwo in our facility. At Elixirgen Scientific, we want to change how researchers model human biology and disease. We believe that MaxTwo will help us identify the unique features of human neurons that cannot be substituted by rodent neurons and ultimately help us achieve our goal of accelerating human health by developing a more accurate model system.