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University of Bristol

Colour 17 1

Area of Application: Entomology
Product Type: Plant Growth and Insect Research - Special Projects

The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. The University of Bristol has 'red brick' status, having received its Royal Charter in 1909.

The School of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Bristol spans three broad research areas - Cardiovascular Science, Cell Biology and Neuroscience. The School has interests in many areas of work such as the roles of the CNS in hypertension, GPCRs in platelet activation, mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, learning and memory and acute and neuropathic pain mechanisms.

Dr James Hodge, who specialises in the research of Potassium Channels and calcium signalling in behaviour and disease at the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, approached Weiss Technik UK for advice and the design specification for a customised Insect Research Room. His laboratory uses Drosophila to study how activity in the nervous system generates behaviour and studies the molecular mechanisms underlying disease.

The research students had already undertaken a number of projects in this area:

  • Investigations into mechanisms of learning and memory in Drosophila
  • Using Drosophila to study dementia and aging
  • Investigations into mechanisms of alcohol behaviour in Drosophila

Dr Hodge commented, "I approached Weiss Technik UK due to their reputation for quality. They offered a number of alternative environmental rooms that could be adapted to my specific research performance requirements including all the customisation I needed for my Fly Behaviour Room."

Weiss Technik UK visited Dr Hodge onsite and discussed the most suitable environmental conditions required to store, breed and behaviourally test insects. Consideration was also given to the size of the room and layout of the University building.

Bespoke Fly Behaviour Room

Weiss Technik UK designed, manufactured and installed a bespoke Fitotron® Fly Behaviour Room at the University of Bristol.

The room enables temperature and humidity conditions to be effectively controlled. In addition, all joints and access points for the room are sealed tight to prevent the loss or escape of insects.

Room dimensions and performance:

  • Internal: 1940mm x 2940mm x 1850mm (w x d x h)
  • External: 2100mm x 3100mm x 2400mm (w x d x h)
  • Temperature range from +18°C to +37°C

The room itself is constructed from coated, steel clad, foam insulated panels with Pvf2 coated steel interiors. The ventilation system provides between two to three air changes per hour, preventing the build-up of odours in the room. The room is also fitted with suitable filters and insect screens.

In order to ensure reliability of results, the insects are stored in conditions as close to 'natural' as possible. As a result, all lighting for insect chambers and rooms is 'insect-friendly' high frequency, minimising the effects of stroboscopic stress. The protection of specimens against exposure to temperatures outside their tolerance level is provided by user set, upper and lower level thermal protection systems with both visual and audible alarms.

Weiss Technik UK also supplied and installed a stand-alone reverse osmosis water purification plant to serve the humidifiers.

Dr Hodge adds, "The Fitotron® Fly Behaviour Room works very well and maintains temperature, humidity and lighting conditions closely. All the shelves, benches, basins and lights are fitted appropriately enabling the University to accurately undertake experiments. Weiss Gallenkamp is my trusted supplier of choice."

Drosophila Research in a Controlled Environment

Since the installation of the Fitotron® Fly Behaviour Room, Dr Hodge and his research assistants and students have undertaken further Drosophila research projects utilising the Controlled Environment conditions of the room:

  • Development of a Drosophila disease model of Parkinson's
  • Development of a Drosophila model of KCNQ channel opathies