DSC FAQ

How do I get started?

Before you make an appointment for training, do some background reading to familiarize yourself with the principles of the technique and determine whether it’s likely that it will work for your system.  Finding a relevant paper in the literature or checking out one of the references on this website would be a good place to start.

How do I arrange for a training session for the instrument?

Contact Debby Pheasant (pheasant@mit.edu or 617-452-2051) to find out how long training will take and to make an appointment when you and she and the instrument are all free at the same time.

How do I make reservations for the instrument?

The reservation for the initial training session will be made by Debby.  After you’re trained, you’ll make reservations online through the Exchange calendar if you’re an MIT person.  People from outside MIT will need to ask Debby to make reservations for them.

How should I prepare my samples?

The sample should be dialyzed against the buffer it’s in and the dialysis buffer will be used in the reference cell. Filter both sample and buffer to remove particulate matter.  You’ll need 1 ml of each sample and 2-5 ml of the dialysis buffer.  A typical starting concentration for a protein sample would be 1 mg/ml, for DNA 50 uM.

Are there any restrictions on what materials I can put into the DSC?

Anything water-soluble which is at BL1 level or lower is fine, with the exception of hydrofluoric acid and strong bases.  Organic solvents are not allowed in the DSC.

How long do DSC runs take?

Before you can run a sample, you need to establish a “thermal history” for your buffer so you set up buffer/buffer scans first.  These will show whether there are bubbles in the cells and will provide the baseline for data analysis.  You need to do at least three of these scans and they typically take 1 hour each.  A good strategy is to set up the buffer/buffer scans overnight the night before you want to scan samples.

When you do get to scanning samples, each scan will take an hour.  You’ll need to clean the sample cell and do another buffer/buffer scan between each one, so figure that each sample will occupy three hours of time.

 

Updated: 7/1/15