August 24, 2011

University of Western Australia and Agilent Technologies to Create World's First Plant Protein Monitoring Database

The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that the Australian Research Centre's Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology located in UWA will use Agilent's informatics systems in its research to build the world's first plant protein monitoring database.

The database will serve as a vital research tool for current investigations of how plants respond to environmental change. Driven by Agilent's informatics systems, the database will be shared with a global community of researchers and used to address a range of challenges such as how to feed an ever-increasing population and how to get plants to grow in arid, cold or high-salt environments. UWA will use an Agilent HPLC-Chip MS system, OpenLab Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and Enterprise Content Manager (ECM).

"This collaboration will allow us to revolutionize the way scientists use their lab book and interrogate their data," said Winthrop Professor Harvey Millar, plant energy biology chief investigator, UWA. "We aim to produce an electronic notepad for lab results, where data are accessible for colleagues in the lab next door and also guarantee the integrity of data, so scientists can get on with the important tasks of discovery and innovation."

"Data mining and management are gaining importance in today's collaborative life science research environment," said Rod Minett, general manager, Life Sciences, South Asia Pacific and Korea, at Agilent.

"This collaboration marks the first time a database for plant protein monitoring will be created, and we are very excited Agilent technology is making it possible."

The UWA team will modify Agilent OpenLab ELN and ECM workflows to develop a research lab-specific electronic environment. Data on the response of plants to changes in environmental conditions will showcase the new research setting. The data will be used to search for unknown links between different plant species and their responses to drought, cold, salinity and low nutrition. The data will also provide a pipeline for targeted analysis of defined sets of plant proteins to answer specific research questions.

"We have used Agilent instruments for many years and have a great working relationship with their scientists and product specialists," said Assistant Professor Nicolas Taylor, plant energy biology research, UWA. "Gone are the days that protein analysis is all about 'shotgun searches' for whatever can be found in a sample; the future will see targeted analysis of defined proteins using the power of peptide mass spectrometry."

The project is part of a longer-term collaboration between UWA and Agilent. Recently Agilent provided matching funds for a new triple quadrupole instrument, which will allow accurate quantification of the levels of known plant proteins, information vital to the project.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences, electronics and communications. The company's 18,500 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2010. Information about Agilent is available at

About UWA
The University of Western Australia is one of Australia's leading universities with an international reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and research. UWA is a member of the prestigious Group of Eight partnership of leading Australian universities. A focus on research and fostering an outstanding research culture has positioned UWA among the top 120 universities internationally.

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