Graphic: Leza Berardone
One recent morning at the Applied Biosystems proteomics research center in Framingham, Mass., scientist Jason Marchese patiently used a pipettor to place tiny samples onto a 2-inch-by-2-inch plate. He was surrounded by technology as simple as 2-D gel electrophoresis apparatus and as cutting-edge as a high-throughput system that uses automated robotics for multidimensional liquid chromatography separation of proteins and an automated workstation that uses the latest in mass spectrometry advances to identify and analyze proteins.

The only scientist working in a large room filled with machines for proteomics research, Marchese talked about how he can load protein sample onto machines in the afternoon and return the next day to a database full of newly identified proteins. But in spite of major advances like this, inadequate technology still holds back the field of proteomics. Applied Biosystems is just one of a number of biotechnology companies working hard to...

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