Office for Technology Commercialization

Hands Free Immunoblot Washing Device

Technology #20160117

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PVDF Membranes ImmunoblotWestern Blot
Brett Anderson
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics, College of Biological Sciences
Reuben Harris, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics, College of Biological Sciences
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Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed

Immunoblot Membrane Washing

An effective and nearly hands-free apparatus easily washes polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) and nitrocellulose membranes used for immunoblotting in research and clinical diagnostics labs. The device consists of three stacking reservoirs: The top reservoir is filled with wash buffer, the middle holds the immunoblot membrane(s) to be washed, and the bottom collects liquid waste. Wash buffer flows from the top reservoir into the middle reservoir, and used buffer from the middle reservoir flows into the bottom (waste) reservoir. Placing the device on a rocking/rotating platform (such as those already found in most labs) provides continuous agitation during the wash process. Furthermore, the outlet aperture diameter in both the wash buffer and membrane compartments can be adjusted so that the liquid either drips or flows continuously, and an adjustable flange in the membrane compartment helps control the depth of the wash buffer in the container.

MN-IP Try and Buy
  • Trial period is twelve months
  • Trial fee is $5000
  • Trial fee is waived for MN companies or if sponsoring $50,000+ research with the University
  • No US patent expenses during trial period
  • $10,000 conversion fee (TRY to BUY)
  • Royalty rate of 3% (2% for MN company)
  • Royalty free for first $1M in sales

** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Kevin Nickels for specific details. **

Automates Immunoblot Membrane Washing

Standard membrane washing protocols generally depend on lab personnel to manually discard and replace wash buffer solutions in between a series of relatively short (~5-10 min) incubation periods on an agitating platform. Commercial efforts toward optimizing this work flow have relied on expensive pump-driven buffer exchange machines. This device provides a low-cost, non-mechanical solution that both streamlines and automates immunoblot membrane washing in labs already equipped with a mechanical rocking platform. This device is also easily disassembled for cleaning, which is critical in eliminating cross-contamination. The device provides a constant, gradual exchange of wash buffer, which both replaces the need for multiple serial washes and frees up considerable lab personnel time.


  • Low-cost, non-mechanical solution
  • Hands-free design eliminates need for researchers to change buffer solutions
  • Streamlines membrane washing in a buffered detergent solution with gentle agitation
  • Provides continuous agitation during the wash process
  • Adjustable outlet flow rates
  • Easy to clean


  • Standard immunoblotting protocols
  • Membrane washing
  • Research and clinical diagnostics labs

Phase of Development Prototype developed