INTERVIEW WITH ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ELIZABETH DAVIS,
Helen Inkson: Why did you choose DMT Tissue Organ Baths for your teaching labs?
Elizabeth Davis: Much of the appeal was the streamlined and stand-alone systems. The air-based rather than water based heating means that there is less footprint on the laboratory benches and therefore increased the flexibility of the lab space. We spoke to others using these systems and had heard DMT would work with us to develop electrodes etc, which meant we could have a personalised system. While we were not sure of the ease of set up of tissue preparations before we got the equipment, we do find the set up process is less complicated and students can set up basic preparations with minimal guidance.
Helen Inkson: Do you use stimulated experiments in your teaching? Why is it important for students to conduct real experiments?
Elizabeth Davis: We do use simulated experiments as part of our laboratory program. However, we believe that it is important for our science/biomedical science students to experience the variability inherent in biological systems, as well as the importance of timing and order of drug addition.
Helen Inkson: What types of degrees are your students enrolled in?
Elizabeth Davis: Most of our students are enrolled in Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Biomedical Science degrees – (some are completing double degrees with Science/Biomedical Science). We do have some Master of Biomedical and Health Science students.
Helen Inkson: What experiments do your students perform?
Elizabeth Davis: Practicals are developed to test the effects of various drugs on isolated tissue preparations. Isolated preparations used include:
Helen Inkson: Do students find DMT systems easier to use that previous systems?
Elizabeth Davis: On the whole, we think students find DMT systems easier to use – partly because they do not have to fill overhead bathing solution reservoirs, the draining/refill process is also easier to manage. The transducer attached to the tissue holder set up also makes it easier for students when setting up their own preparations. While we have not sought any official feedback from students, we have a number of students who used our old system in previous years. They have been very positive about the ease of use of the new systems. New students know no difference!
Helen Inkson: Do you find DMT systems easier to maintain that previous systems?
Elizabeth Davis: In the past, the glass jacketed organ bath system had to be dismantled at the end of each year, and the glassware had to be soaked and sonicated to remove calcium deposits. The tubing had to be soaked and every second year, needed to be replaced. This was a very time-consuming process.
The DMT system is easier to maintain as it is more compact and there is very little visible tubing. As the chambers are easy to remove, they are very easy to clean.
Helen Inkson: What are your future plans for DMT Systems?
Elizabeth Davis: We are building a new, multidisciplinary laboratory space. Once we move into the new labs, our aim is to try to increase the variety of preparations we are using in our practical classes. We have worked with DMT to develop custom-made electrodes to allow stimulation of ileum and chick biventer cervicis, and we are also in the process of updating our stimulators, which will facilitate this.
Helen Inkson: Would you recommend DMT Tissue Organ Bath Systems?
Elizabeth Davis: Yes. These systems are easy to setup and potentially to move, which means they are a much more flexible option than the traditional organ baths. Having the tissue holder fixed with the transducer means that it is easier for students to set up their own preparations and overall the system is very easy to use.
We are particularly impressed with the quality of the service by DMT–Asia Pacific.
We believe that with the investment we have made in DMT organ baths is going to be returned in the outcomes from the students in the development of skills that are going to make them the pioneers of the future.