After qualifying as a Biochemist from the University of York, David Benson, our Automation Sales Specialist knows that accurate and precise pipetting is essential for reproducibility in biomolecular experimentation methodology.
The liquid handling steps in common procedures such as PCR and NGS library preparation can be incredibly time-consuming and could result in Repetitive Strain Injuries for technical workers, particularly for high throughput experimentation. In his new role as an automation specialist, his main aim is to support labs in transforming mundane and time-consuming liquid handling tasks into efficient, precise, and reproducible processes.
From drug discovery to genomics, automated liquid handlers have found wide-ranging applications across various scientific disciplines. The flowbot ONE is an automated liquid-handler capable of assisting with these applications specifically highlighted below…
High-throughput Screening in Drug Discovery:
Automated liquid handlers have greatly enhanced the drug discovery process by enabling medium to high-throughput screening (HTS) of large compound libraries. By utilising these instruments this enables scientists to test thousands of compounds in a short span of time. By automating the liquid handling steps, researchers can optimize assay conditions, improve accuracy, and increase the efficiency of hit identification, ultimately expediting the drug discovery pipeline.
Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) Library Preparation:
NGS technologies have revolutionised genomics research, but library preparation can be a complex and labour-intensive process. Automated liquid handlers streamline the preparation of NGS libraries by precisely dispensing small volumes of nucleic acids, enzymes, and adapters. These instruments ensure reproducibility, minimize manual errors, and significantly reduce hands-on time. Whether it’s DNA or RNA sequencing, automated liquid handlers play a critical role in enabling high-quality and high-throughput NGS library preparation.
Assay Development and Optimisation:
Developing and optimizing assays is a crucial step in many scientific disciplines. Automated liquid handlers facilitate this process by ensuring reagent, buffer and sample solutions are prepared in a reproducible manner. By automating repetitive tasks, scientists can systematically analyse different concentrations and combinations, and efficiently optimize assays for sensitivity, specificity, and robustness. This not only saves time and resources but also enhances the reproducibility of experimental results.
Cell-Culture and Microbiology:
In cell culture and microbiology research, automated liquid handlers play a pivotal role in maintaining cell lines, performing serial dilutions, and preparing media and drug solutions. These instruments ensure precise and consistent liquid dispensing, reducing the risk of contamination and improving the overall quality of experiments. Automated liquid handlers also enable the screening of antimicrobial compounds, allowing researchers to evaluate the efficacy of potential therapeutics against pathogens rapidly.
Clinical Diagnostics and Liquid Biopsies:
In the field of clinical diagnostics, automated liquid handlers have facilitated the analysis of patient samples with increased speed and accuracy. These instruments can handle large volumes of samples and perform the liquid handling tasks for complex workflows, such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). In liquid biopsy research, where minimal amounts of circulating tumor DNA or RNA are extracted from blood samples, automated liquid handlers are essential for efficient and reproducible sample processing and analysis.
Automated liquid handlers have transformed the landscape of scientific research by automating liquid handling tasks, significantly enhancing productivity, precision, and reproducibility.
The flowbot ONE is an excellent example of a liquid handler that is not only easy to use but also flexible and incredibly cost effective. The flowbot ONE’s software is very intuitive meaning you can set up protocols in just 15 minutes without any prior programming experience. The flowbot ONE comes with 12 positions on the deck and two pipette modules with a choice of a 1,4 or 8 channel head. For more sensitive applications you can add UV-C lamps and/or a HEPA filtration system to the flowbot ONE.