Monday, March 2, 2009

More Aspiration, Less Perspiration

We're excited for our latest "toy"  (pictured here).  

Why do we care? There are more than 60 plates in the DRSC 2.0 full-genome library, which is the library in use for all full-genome screens at the DRSC (optimized to limit off-target effects, covers about 14,000 genes, includes protein-coding and non-coding genes). 

Add to that, screens are done in duplicate, and suddenly you're looking at adding and aspirating small volumes to more than 100 384-well plates for a full-genome screen. 

As a result, it's great to find automated and all-at-once ways to do repetitive steps like liquid addition (for which we have several automated instruments) and aspiration.  Making it possible to process more plates per day, such that a screen takes weeks instead of months.

What we used to use?  An aspirator "wand" that can be used to aspirate fluid from a 384-well plate a row at a time. Two minuses: (1) only a row at a time! And (2) you had to hold it very steady and judge by eye and feel if you hit the right depth each time.

What's better about this? With the new device, you pre-set the height you'll bring the plate up to. This means you can adjust the device for any plate type and any pin depth (good). Once it's adjusted, you get the same depth in each well and plate as you go (great!).  And of course, because there are 384 pins, a whole plate is done in one quick go.

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