In 2015 Spectrum Labs started a Tangential Flow Filtration training and education program. This program is run by Jim Simmons, the Senior Director of Education at Spectrum Labs and formerly the regional sales engineer for the Central United States.
In May of 2016, Jim Simmons and his colleague Colleen Kao, from Spectrum Labs, lead a two day on-site TFF course for our Viral Vector Core staff at the University of Iowa. The VVC is a non-profit viral core and we engineer and purify a number of diverse viruses for gene therapy-related research for investigators worldwide. We currently utilize time-consuming centrifugation techniques as the workhorse for virus purification. For the most part, it is not practical to increase the scale of virus preps when using centrifugation technologies. However, increasingly, our clients are interested in larger viral preps to scale for preclinical animal model studies.
Recent advances in the field have incorporated TFF technologies into viral purification schemes with significant improvements in productivity and virus performance. We initially reached out to Spectrum to see if they could talk to us about TTF, and that lead to Jim stopping by with a quick tutorial and he left a loaner unit for us. We quickly realized that we needed more training to be able to bring TFF on board as a working SOP. Jim suggested an on-site training and we agreed that would be very beneficial. The course was divided into lectures and hands-on live demonstrations with 4 of the KrosFlo Research IIi Tangential Flow Filtration Systems which Jim hauled from Chicago.
Jim was very good at dialing up and down to fit our needs in terms of presenting the technical science behind TFF. We had 4 wet lab stations for our 9 team members so everyone was able to get in there and really try out the units. Jim brought all of the columns and disposables needed for the practice runs. We used a blue colored solution of nanoparticles to simulate viral purification protocols.
It was cool to be able to visualize the concentration based on the changing color of the in put feedstock. We were an inexperienced group and Jim helped to decrease the mysteries around all of the TFF jargon. Jim and Colleen were very patient with us and they encouraged us to ask questions. Jim is a natural educator and his passion for science and purification technologies is infectious.
We had a lot of fun and shared a few memorable meals. We are looking forward to receiving our own KrosFlo Research IIi in the very near future. Knowing that we have new friends like Jim and Colleen at Spectrum, we feel confident that we will be able to bounce ideas and questions back to them anytime we need advice.
Kate Holt, PhD
Director, Viral Vector Core Facility
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
*This post may have been edited for clarity and topic focus.