Agilent’s Longest-Serving Employee

Joyce Bertozzi is celebrating 55 years of service at HP/Agilent!

Joyce Bertozzi is celebrating 55 years of service at HP/Agilent!

Joyce Bertozzi just celebrated her 55-year anniversary working continuously for Agilent and its predecessor, Hewlett-Packard! Joyce holds the record as both the company’s longest-serving employee and its longest-serving active employee.

Yes, she’s still working!  When the Santa Clara, Calif., administrative assistant is asked why she still works after more than half a century, she replies, “What else would I do?”

Joyce started working for HP after graduating high school in 1959. That same year, the integrated circuit was patented, the Barbie doll was introduced, and the dark side of the moon was photographed for the first time.

With a career that spans more than half a century, Joyce has seen her share of change. “Business is a lot more cutthroat than it was years ago,” she remarks. “The atmosphere used to be more relaxed. Your work stayed at work and your home life was separate. Nowadays you have so much contact with your work, thanks to computers and cell phones, it seems like you can’t get away from it.”

Nevertheless, Joyce has no plans for retirement. “As long as I’m able, I’d like to keep working,” she says. “It keeps me active. I enjoy the people I work with, and I enjoy my job. I think it keeps me younger.”

What’s her next goal? “I want to reach 60 years of service,” she says, laughing.

Agilent CEO-Elect Mike McMullen congratulates Joyce for her 55 years

Agilent CEO-Elect Mike McMullen congratulates Joyce for her 55 years


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Agilent Helps Detect Genetically Modified Foods

More genetically modified foods could be sold directly to consumers

More genetically modified foods could be sold directly to consumers

Genetically modified foods are in the news.  The arctic apple, which has been genetically engineered not to brown after being sliced, is currently seeking approval for sale in the U.S.

GMFs have been around since 1994, when the Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato was approved for human consumption.  Since then, a number of crops including soybeans and corn have been genetically modified for higher nutrition and resistance to herbicides.  But if the arctic apple is approved, it would be one of the first GMFs to be marketed directly to consumers.

There is broad scientific consensus that GMFs are no more dangerous than normal foods, but critics disagree.  There are issues related to environmental impact and intellectual property rights.  Regulations are also inconsistent.  In the U.S., GMF labeling is voluntary.  In Europe, any food containing at least 1 percent of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) must be labelled.

DNA analysis is the only effective method for detecting GMOs along the entire range from raw materials to highly processed foods.  The Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer and Agilent DNA 1000 LabChip Kit can be used to detect genetically modified elements in corn and soybean products with a sensitivity as high as 0.01 percent.

This information is for research purposes only.  It is not intended for any use in diagnostic procedures.


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Agilent Helps Researchers Create a Human Brain

Scientists have grown the first living model of a human brain in a lab

Scientists have grown the first living model of a human brain in a lab

For the first time, researchers in Massachusetts have been able to grow human brain cells in a laboratory that mimic Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, has been difficult to replicate or study in laboratory animals.  The team used an Agilent QuikChange Mutagenesis Kit in their work, introducing mutations into specific genes to create complementary DNA constructs.

Human brain cells were first grown in a gel, where they soon differentiated and formed neural networks.  They were then fed genes associated with Alzheimer’s.  Within a few weeks, the brain cells exhibited telltale features of Alzheimer’s disease.  The researchers hope this breakthrough will help scientists better understand how the disease progresses.

Last year, researchers in Austria were able to grow the first three-dimensional, living model of a human brain in the laboratory.  The pea-sized “cerebral organoid” was equivalent to that of a nine-week old fetus.  It was incapable of thought or consciousness, but contained several differentiated brain regions including the cerebral cortex, retina and hippocampus.

The scientists used adult human skin cells that were reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells.  Exomes (the part of the genome containing protein-encoding DNA) were captured and amplified using Agilent SureSelect target enrichment tools.  Cells were suspended in a gel scaffold and fed nutrients necessary for brain development.

The cerebral organoid was used to model microcephaly, a genetic disorder in which the head and brain are severely undersized.  The results of the study suggest that the brains of microcephaly patients specialize too early, developing neurons before they can be adequately supported.

Scientists hope that continued research will help them to better understand more common disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

This information is for research purposes only.  It is not intended for any use in diagnostic procedures.


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