The High Throughput Screening Core facility occupies approximately 600 square feet of laboratory space in the Flower Research Building, and contains major robotic equipment, computers, freezers, a microplate washer and reader, tissue culture and benchtop working space.
The major equipment is described in more detail below.
Programmable rotary robotic plate handler that shuffles microtiter plates between specified instrument positions and plate racks.
The Biomek FX Laboratory Workstation is a flexible, automated liquid handling system with a large work surface accommodating almost any highthroughput job size. The system comes configured with both 96-channel and Span-8 multichannel pipetting capabilities, simplifying highthroughput automation in 96- or 384-well format, with up to a 240-plate capacity with the Stacker Carousel. Multichannel pipetting makes for rapid compound transfer and addition of reagents. Automated labware positioners allow the researcher to customize the work surface with automated functionality such as shaking, stirring, heating and cooling for a given application; the integrated gripper frees the user from routine tasks like clearing the work surface to make room for more plates. An automated tip loader and Stacker Carousel storage likewise automate the routine task of providing disposable labware to the highthroughput system. The Biomek FX software is easy to use and possesses features for precise and accurate pipetting, as well as automation tools such as the Software Wizard, making it simple to write methods to automate any task.
Special supervisory software that allows the control of multiple instruments from one PC, Overlord operates in Windows 2000/XP environments with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. Overlord utilizes the native software of ancillary equipment for maximum flexibility. Even the most complex system is easy to program and the most complex instrumentation is easy to integrate. There are over 300 Overlord installations in the field. Device drivers for Overlord are available for more than 300 instruments, and we use it to integrate the six instruments listed here into a screening platform.
Microplate reader capable of handling all fluorescence, luminescence, absorbance, fluorescence polarization and time-resolved fluorescence detection technologies.
In addition to managing detection technologies similar to those handled by Tecan Ultra, PHERAstar is equipped to handle the bead-based Amplified Luminescent Proximity Homogeneous Assay (AlphaScreen) technology patented by PerkinElmer.
A plate washer that is capable of washing 96- and 384-well microtiter plates. Users can adjust the flow rate, the dispense/aspiration volume and angle for applications from basic ELISA to cell washings.
Integrated incubator to allow screening with cell-based assays.
Multidrop Micro is a high-speed 1-µl bulk reagent dispenser that precisely delivers microvolumes of 1-50 µl into 384- and 96-well microplates. It is especially useful for high throughput screening assays set up with rare and/or expensive components.
State-of-the-art instrument for characterizing specific interactions of protein with other molecules such as proteins, synthetic and natural chemicals. The rates at which these molecules interact (binding and dissociation), and their affinity (how tightly they bind to another molecule) can be obtained easily.