BioSurplus Blog & News

May 16, 2017

BioSurplus Announces Strategic Relationship and Hires Director of Business Development

Debra Inger - BioSurplus, Director of Business Development; NTS, VP of Sales and Business Development

Debra Inger – BioSurplus, Director of Business Development; NTS, VP of Sales and Business Development

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2017 – BioSurplus, a leading provider of lab equipment solutions, is excited to announce a strategic relationship with NTS Laboratory Equipment, Inc., a premier lab equipment service company. NTS offers nationwide support for a broad range of general lab instrumentation, including centrifuges, pumps, microscopes and more.

As a quality equipment service provider, NTS works with pharmaceutical companies, biotech labs and universities throughout the United States. With a combined technical experience spanning more than 100 years in the industry, the NTS team prides itself on quick response times, affordable pricing and customer satisfaction.

Through this relationship, BioSurplus customers will have access to service technicians to better support and maintain their labs. Similarly, NTS service customers will have access to affordable, quality, pre-owned lab equipment from BioSurplus’ ever-changing inventory.

BioSurplus is also pleased to welcome Debra Inger as its new director of business development in the northeast region. Debra earned her MBA at the University of Central Florida and brings more than 15 years of experience in the lab equipment industry, including nine years at NTS.

“I am delighted to be joining BioSurplus, a leader in satisfying the equipment needs of the life sciences community,” says Debra Inger. “Their focus on delivering excellent service and value to customers reflects what we have been doing at NTS over the past nine years. Our customers will benefit greatly from the capabilities both companies offer working together.”

“Debra brings tremendous experience, expertise and a strong focus on customer service to the BioSurplus team. We are very happy that she has chosen to help us support scientists and companies across the country with their equipment needs,” adds BioSurplus president and CEO, Bill VanDeWeghe.

About BioSurplus

Founded in 2002, BioSurplus is America’s preeminent buyer and reseller of preowned lab equipment. Customers can shop from anywhere using the BioSurplus online store, online auctions or at our two California showrooms. BioSurplus purchases late-model working lab instruments from labs that no longer need them, and then passes on the savings of repurposed equipment to its customers. BioSurplus team members are carefully chosen for their scientific background and experience to ensure the proper marketing, selling and handling of a wide range of specialized laboratory instruments. BioSurplus is dedicated to maximizing the value and use of laboratory equipment for both its buying and selling customers.

BioSurplus is headquartered in San Diego and has lab equipment showrooms and warehouses in San Diego and San Francisco, as well as representatives on the East Coast. For more information, please visit us at

Media Contact:

April 27, 2017

April 19, 2017

Earth Day 2017 Events

BioSurplus Earth WeekAs a pre-owned equipment vendor, sustainability and green practices are integral to BioSurplus. Therefore, we encourage everyone to participate in any Earth Day events or otherwise acknowledge awareness of human’s impact on the environment. Although the various “March for Science” events will occupy many scientists’ weekends, here are some family-friendly alternatives in the three major biotech hubs.

Bay Area Earth day logo 2017

Bay Area Earth Day 2017

The Bay Area Earth Day organization consolidated all Bay Area events into one resource page so you can easily find an event in your neighborhood. From Santa Rosa to Palo Alto, it will be hard not to find a way to get involved.




San Diego EarthWorks EarthFair 2017

San Diego EarthWorks

If you’re in the San Diego area, join the annual EarthFair in Balboa Park for great food, fun arts and crafts shows, entertaining performances, and over 300 exhibition booths. Just be sure to get there early to nab all the excitement (and parking!) you can.







Ecotarium Earth Day Celebration

Ecotarium Earth Day Celebration

The Ecotarium, just an hour outside of Boston,  has a full day of activities and exhibitions on Friday, April 21st. Learn all about plants in-between browsing the farmer’s market and watching live entertainment for a busy, fun-packed day!






Earth Day Sustainability Reception

As for BioSurplus, we are sponsoring an Earth Day Sustainability Reception with Biocom at the Farmer and Seahorse restaurant in San Diego. Register today for discussions with industry experts on green practices and sustainable initiatives.


If you would like to host an event of your own, check out this webinar from Earth Day Network on how to create and market a successful Earth Day event:

March 28, 2017

Women’s History Month in Science, Part 2

To wrap up Women’s History Month, here is our tribute to four more groundbreaking female scientists in the fields of physics, physiology, and chemistry.

Chien Shiung-Wu, 1912 – 1997

Chien Shiung Wu,

Chien Shiung Wu,

Dr. Chien Shiung-Wu, also known as the First Lady of Physics and the Queen of Nuclear Research, played a formative role in nuclear science, beta decay, and weak interaction physics. Born in Liu Ho, China in 1912, she completed her undergraduate degree at the National Central University of Nanking in 1936 and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. During World War II, she joined the Manhattan project and helped develop a method to mass produce enriched uranium ore as fuel for nuclear bombs. After the war, she worked as a research assistant at Columbia University. With her colleagues Dr. Tsung-Dao Lee and Dr. Chen Ning Yang, she experimentally invalidated the principle of conservation of parity for which Lee and Yang won the Nobel Prize. Despite missing out on this honor, she received many other awards and titles in recognition for her achievements such as the National Medal of Science, the National Academy of Sciences Cyrus B. Comstock Award in Physics, and the Research Corporation Award.


Marie Maynard Daly, 1921 – 2003

Marie Maynard Daly,

Marie Maynard Daly,

Dr. Marie Maynard Daly, the first African-American woman to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, made significant contributions to the studies of human digestion and proteins, cell nucleus composition, and cigarette smoke. Her work in digestion led to the discovery of the correlation between cholesterol and clogged arteries. This acted as a stepping stone for future research looking at the relationship between diet and cardiovascular health. Later in life, she became an education advocate and started a scholarship program for minority students wanting to study science at Queens College.





Shirley Jackson, 1946 – present

Shirley Jackson,

Shirley Jackson,

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is a theoretical physicist whose early work in layered systems and condensed matter physics formed the fundamentals for communications technology such as caller ID, call waiting, and fiber optic cables. Her numerous leadership positions include chairman of the US Nuclear Regulations Commission, chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. She holds over 50 honorary doctoral degrees and received numerous prestigious awards such as the National Medal of Science and President’s Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.




Flossie Wong-Staal, 1947 – present

Flossie Wong-Staal,

Flossie Wong-Staal,

Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal, born Yee Ching Wong, is known best for her work with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After completing her primary education in China, she moved to the United States at the age of 18 to obtain her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from UCLA in bacteriology and molecular biology respectively. From there she moved to Maryland to work at the National Cancer Institute with Robert Gallo to find the cause of AIDS. In 1985, she became the first researcher to clone HIV, a significant step towards mapping the virus and developing HIV blood test protocols. Although she is now retired from academia, she continues working in bacteriology and retroviruses as vice president and chief scientific officer of iTherX.



Honorable mentions:

Mildred Dresselhaus – “Queen of Carbon,” researched nanomaterial and electronic structure with carbon and semi-metals

Esther Miriam Zimmer Lederburg – discovered lambda phage and made significant contributions in bacterial genetics

Sara Josephine Baker – revolutionized infant care in New York City and famously tracked down “Typhoid Mary” twice



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March 14, 2017

March 2, 2017

Women’s History Month in Science, Part 1

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re featuring a multi-part tribute to notable women in science. From biology and medicine to mathematics and physics, women made many important discoveries and theoretical leaps that were too-often lost in history, particularly before the late 20th century. This series will chronicle some of science’s most innovative, insightful women.

Merit Ptah (c. 2700 BCE)

Merit Ptah

Merit Ptah, courtesy of

The history of women in science begins with Merit Ptah. Her title of “Chief Physician” is inscribed on a tomb at Saqqara, next to fellow Chief Physicians Imhotep and her (unnamed) son, making her the first woman named in any scientific field. Although her exact accomplishments are unknown, her title implies she was a teacher and supervisor for other doctors as well as a practicing physician for the royal court. In honor of her status, modern scientists named a crater in Venus after her.








Nettie Stevens (1861-1912)

Nettie Stevens

Nettie Stevens courtesy of

With a research career spanning only 11 years, Nettie Stevens discovered two species of unicellular organisms, published 40 papers, won the 1905 Ellen Richards Prize for the best scientific paper written by a woman, and provided evidence that X and Y chromosomes determine the sex of an organism. She worked as a teacher from the age of 19 to continue her education, culminating in an M.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. She originally started work with protozoa. From there, she migrated to cytology and then embryology. She published her paper on the Y chromosome (Studies in Spermatogenesis, Part I) in 1905, then continued working as an associate at Bryn Mawr College until she succumbed to breast cancer in 1912.








Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012)

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini courtesy of

Born in Turin, Italy to a Sephardic Jewish family in 1909, Rita Levi-Montalcini overcame both her father’s resistance to her education and World War II to pursue neurophysiological studies. Although she started in universities, she resorted to a make-shift lab in her basement to further her research when Benito Mussolini’s 1938 Manifesto of Race banned her from seeking an intellectual career. After the war, she accepted a residency at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she worked for 30 years. She won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine with biochemist Stanley Cohen for discovering nerve growth factor (NGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Also, she helped form multiple foundations and institutions  and continued researching until her passing on December 30, 2012.






Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin is best known for her pioneering x-ray diffraction images showing the double helix structure of DNA. Before that, she worked as an associate research officer with the British Coal Utilization Research Association (CURA) and wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the porosity of coal. Famously, a dispute with her colleague led to her images suggesting DNA’s double-helix structure being leaked to rival scientists James Watson and Francis Crick. Watson and Crick received the Nobel Prize for “their work on the structure of DNA” 4 years after Rosalind Franklin died of ovarian cancer. Despite her young passing, she was heavily awarded posthumously for her studies of DNA.








Any women you want us to honor next time? Let us know in the comments below!


February 16, 2017

Analytical Balance Buying Guide

We know you know how to operate and maintain balances and scales, but the biggest challenge when shopping around is deciphering the jargon. Mettler Toledo has a great resource for understanding the technical terms, and here is a practical breakdown of the relevant specifications:

“D” value

Mettler Toledo model MS4002S/03 BSIID: 301-7661

Mettler Toledo model MS4002S/03
BSIID: 301-7661

Serial tags on balances often show a d, or division, value. Also referred to as the readability of the balance, it represents the smallest measurement that the balance can detect. A balance with a readability of 1 g will only show measurements in increments of whole grams, a readability of 1 mg will show measurements in increments of milligrams, and so on.

This value loosely determines the price of the balance. If you divide the maximum load (or capacity) of the balance by the d value, you get the number of individual measurements (or divisions) that the balance can weigh. For example, a balance with a maximum capacity of 4000 g and a d value of 1 g has 4000 divisions. A balance with a maximum capacity of 120 g and a value of 1 mg (.001 g) has 120,000 divisions. For that reason, the balance with the lower d value is generally more expensive than the balance with the higher capacity.

Dual- and multi-range readability

If you need a specific readability for all your measurements, look out for dual- and multi-range balances. This means that the value of the balance will change depending on the load. For instance, compare a balance with a readability of 0.1 g to a dual-range balance with readabilities of 0.1 g and 1 mg. Both balances can measure 0.5 g, but the dual-range balance offers greater specificity at that value by producing a reading of 500 mg and detecting variations within a milligram. For masses over a certain size specified by the manufacturer, the dual-range balance will go back to a readability of 0.1 g.

Additional performance metrics

User manuals might include other specifications such as linearity, stability, sensitivity, and repeatability. Mettler’s guide provides formal definitions for these terms, but all you really need to know when you’re shopping is that the values are usually quantified as a standard deviation or the maximum limit of deviation. Minimal deviation indicates that the balance will have consistent, high-quality performance over a wide range of operating conditions. In our experience, they are commonly expressed like “Linearity = 0.007 g at 20 g.” For the manuals and data sheets that don’t follow these conventions, just look for the smallest values to get the most reliable readings.

Legal standards

If your company makes their business by selling their product by weight, you may need to find legal-for-trade balances or scales. Legal-for-trade means the balance meets or exceeds the requirements needed for that industry. That being said, most analytical laboratories will not need to worry about this because they are not using their balances commercially.

Most commercial brands will provide an NTEP certificate of conformance, a document showing their balance’s adherence to the standards set by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Therefore, even if you are in a regulated industry, you most likely won’t have to be concerned about these standards, and regular calibration will be enough to ensure consistent and quality weighing. If the balance doesn’t have that documentation, you can make an appointment with a lab supported by the NCWM to obtain the certificate.


What else do you look for in scales and balances? Tell us in the comments below!


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February 2, 2017

Freezer and Refrigerator Buying Guide

Most laboratories handle some type of temperature-controlled substance, such as cells, enzymes, and reagents. As such, they often need specialized cold storage instead of basic kitchen models to ensure safe and consistent cooling conditions. This guide will serve as an introduction to buying freezers and refrigerators with extra tips specific to pre-owned equipment.

VWR SCBMF-3020, BSIID: 301-7180

VWR SCBMF-3020, BSIID: 301-7180


1. Temperature range and control

There are four categories of laboratory freezers: standard freezer (-20°C), plasma freezer (-40°C), ultralow freezer (-80°C), and cryofreezer (-150°C or lower). Refrigerators are less striated with a general range of 1-12°C. Most freezers and fridges are adjustable to some extent, but occasional models are hard-set to one specific temperature. If you need a greater range of temperatures rather than the factory preset, be sure to check for a control panel or other adjustment interface as well as a manual or other documentation with the unit’s specifications.

2. Defrost type

Manual defrost shelves

Manual defrost shelves

There are two defrost types for freezers: automatic (“frost free”) and manual. Automatic defrost means the freezer will cycle through cooling and warming periods to prevent frost build up inside the cabinet. Manual defrost means the freezer won’t run through those cycles, and the frost will need to be shaved off by hand.

Most laboratory-grade freezers are manual defrost because they are expected to handle  samples that can’t withstand temperature variation. Alternatively, most basic and combination units are automatic defrost for easy maintenance. A simple way to determine a unit’s defrost type is to look at the shelving. Most upright manual defrost freezers will have coils under the shelves to maintain the set temperature; however, ultra low freezers and cryofreezers will always be manual defrost even without visible coils.

3. Display and alarms

Digital displays and alarm systems are becoming increasingly standard with each incoming model. Electronic displays and temperature monitors provide clear and accurate reads of what is happening in the cabinet. Alarm systems help prevent critical errors by alerting scientists of mechanical failures, and they are often supported by liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide backup systems. If you only need something basic for general storage, you will probably be fine without these bells and whistles. If you need to store fragile samples or you work in an area with frequent power outages, then those bells and whistles could save your research.

4. Flammable material storage vs. Explosion-proof storage

Heavy Duty Conduit Box

Explosion-proof heavy duty conduit box. BSIID: 202-7059

If your lab is handling combustible materials, such as alcohols, you will need appropriate storage to prevent fires and explosions; however, those needs will ultimately depend on your lab environment.

Flammable material storage (FMS) freezers and refrigerators have all electrical components, such as switches and thermostats, on the exterior of the unit to prevent igniting vapors within the cabinet. Additional features may include self-closing doors to prevent combustible vapors from escaping and fortified insulation to limit damage in the case of a fire.

Explosion-proof storage expands upon FMS by requiring complete protection from external vapors. This means all electrical components are outside of the cabinet and completely sealed from the environment. Also, these units will have a heavy duty conduit outlet box to ensure a safe connection directly to the circuit breaker.

Generally, both FMS and explosion-proof storage will have bright labels plastered visibly on the front door warning against holding heat sources near the flammable contents. If the unit does not have any warning labels (which may be possible when buying pre-owned equipment), you can usually determine if it’s fire-safe by looking for electrical connections within the chamber. Regardless, definitely ask your supplier for fire-proof approval or documentation about the unit’s adherence to UL, NFPA, or OSHA standards.

5. Electrical requirements

Most basic refrigerators and freezers will be 115/120 V, 50-60 Hz, and 15 amperes. Lower temperature units will potentially require a greater amperage to operate, such as 20 amperes or more. Many facilities are not equipped for the higher current and, therefore, cannot support heavy duty cold storage. Check your laboratory’s circuit breakers and outlets before purchasing a heavy duty freezer to make sure it can accommodate the greater electrical requirements.


For more information on cold storage, see our “Lab Cold Storage” video and our cold storage selection and operation guide under our ultralow freezer category page.

What else do you look for in cold storage? Tell us in the comments below!


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January 31, 2017

BioSurplus Executive Dawn Hocevar Elected to Lead Influential Industry Organization, Women In Bio

wiblogoSAN DIEGO, Jan. 31, 2017 — Biosurplus, America’s preeminent buyer and reseller of preowned lab equipment, congratulates its Vice President of National Business Development, Dawn Hocevar, in her new elected role as President and Chair of Women In Bio (WIB), an organization that is committed to promoting leadership, careers and entrepreneurship for women in the life sciences industry.

“Dawn serves as a leader in all that she does,” said Bill VanDeWeghe, President and Chief Executive Officer of BioSurplus. “We are incredibly proud of Dawn as she takes on the role as president and chair of Women In Bio, and we strongly support the meaningful work this organization is doing to improve gender diversity in life science organizations.”

Ms. Hocevar has been an integral member of BioSurplus’ business development team for more than a decade. As vice president, she takes the lead in strategic planning and developing partnerships with life sciences companies and universities.

Since 2011, Ms. Hocevar has actively volunteered with Women In Bio, helping to shape the national organization’s programming and executive development leadership initiatives. Among those initiatives is Boardroom Ready, an executive-level certification program that graduated its first-ever cohort of 20 women in 2016. BioSurplus recently named Theresa Matkovits, Ph.D., who was part of the inaugural class, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Matkovits is Senior Vice President and Head of Drug Development at ContraVir Pharmaceuticals Inc.

“I am very proud to have been elected as President and Chair of Women In Bio,” Ms. Hocevar said. “BioSurplus is a great company to work with, and I appreciate their continued support as I help Women In Bio provide women around the country with the resources and tools needed to succeed in this dynamic industry.”

About BioSurplus

Founded in 2002, BioSurplus is America’s preeminent buyer and reseller of preowned lab equipment. Customers can shop from anywhere using the BioSurplus online store, online auctions or at our two California showrooms. BioSurplus purchases late-model working lab instruments from labs that no longer need them, and then passes on the savings of repurposed equipment to its customers. BioSurplus team members are carefully chosen for their scientific experience and background to ensure the proper marketing, selling and handling of a wide range of specialized laboratory instruments. BioSurplus is dedicated to maximizing the value and use of laboratory equipment for both its buying and selling customers.

BioSurplus is headquartered in San Diego and has lab equipment showrooms and warehouses in San Diego and San Francisco. For more information, please visit us at

Media Contact:

Mark Corbae
Senior Vice President
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5375

January 26, 2017

Centrifuge and Rotor Buying Guide

Centrifuges are integral components of processing, research and development, and medical labs. Most scientists already know what they need for centrifugation, but successfully buying pre-owned equipment can require extra considerations. Here are some strategic and technical tips for quickly finding the right centrifuge and rotor.


Eppendorf 5804R, BSIID: 2029480

    1. Browse early

The most common hurdle in buying pre-owned centrifuges is matching the right centrifuge with the right rotor and adapters. To give yourself the time to find the perfect fit, start looking as soon as you can. Some resellers accept wishlists and will search for your desired centrifuge and rotor combination through their sourcing network, often finding you the right equipment much faster than you can independently.

    2. Look for name brands

Another way to expedite finding the right centrifuge and rotor combination is by actively pursuing name brands (which really won’t be difficult). The overwhelming majority of centrifuges in BioSurplus’ inventory are from Beckman Coulter, Eppendorf, Thermo Fisher Scientific (including Jouan, Heraeus, and Sorvall lines), and VWR. This means rotors, adapters, consumables, and replacement parts for these brands are also more readily available. Additionally, should any technical issues arise years later when the manufacturer no longer supports the equipment, many third-party service companies continue to specialize in these brands. Even if this may mean a more expensive initial purchase, it will be the better long-term investment.

    3. Anticipate future growth

To put this another way, balance your current needs with where you see your lab going in the future. For example, we see many start-ups buy a great centrifuge only to come back soon after because they need refrigeration. Centrifuges are integral to pretty much every lab department, so you may be in a situation where you should buy a versatile centrifuge with numerous rotors and a wide range of speeds so you don’t need to shop again (or waste valuable lab space).


Technical considerations

Beckman 70.1 Ti rotor, BSIID: 3014635

    1. Functionality

This point should go without saying, but we’re still including it because it’s easily the most important. With all pre-owned equipment, you need to know what you’re getting, and that includes a functionality and quality assessment. Reputable resellers will be honest and forthcoming with any damages, missing parts, or operational failures to ensure you’re getting the best equipment for your needs, even if you’re only buying for parts.

    2. RPM vs. RCF

RPM (revolutions per minute) is a measure of how fast the centrifuge rotor rotates. RCF (relative centrifugal force) is the force exerted upon the rotor’s contents. Although this seems basic, online centrifuge descriptions may only specify maximum RPM, but the maximum RCF a rotor will withstand can be more important. Research what rotor options are available for the centrifuge that seems have the right RPM range. If you can’t find the information independently, the reseller’s service department should be able to get that information for you.

    3. Electrical requirements

Approximately 85% of our centrifuges run on 110/115/120 V (50-60 Hz). The remaining 15% are floor, standing, or occasional benchtop models that operate at 220/230 V. Although this means it’s generally safe to assume the voltage for micro and benchtop centrifuges, scientists upgrading to a floor model may not consider the corresponding upgrade in electrical requirements. Confirm the electrical requirements with your sales representative, and make sure your facility has the right outlets to accommodate the higher voltage.


What else do you look for when shopping for centrifuges? Tell us in the comments below!

For more information on centrifuges, see our “Centrifuges at BioSurplus” video and our centrifuge selection and operation guide under our microcentrifuge category page.


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