Exploring Instrumentation for Your Lab: Particle Movers vs. Liquid Handlers

There is no ‘One Size Fits All’ solution to lab automation, and finding the right solution for your lab can have a lasting impact on your labs efficiency and data quality.

Some laboratory processes are time-consuming and tedious. Automation highly manual processes such as nucleic acid extraction can increase your lab’s throughput and improve the overall consistency of your results. Unfortunately choosing and implementing one of these systems can seem overwhelming. As you begin to evaluate the automation needs of your lab, one of the first decision points is the type of platform you need. Do you need a liquid handler or a magnetic particle mover?

Continue reading “Exploring Instrumentation for Your Lab: Particle Movers vs. Liquid Handlers”

It Takes a Village: Automating Plasmid Purification for iGEM

Today’s blog is guest-written by Wihan Adi, a Master’s student majoring in physics at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen and team member of iGEM Marburg. Although his background is in nuclear and particle physics, his research interests shifted toward affordable biosensors for point-of-care cancer detection, which is how he ended up doing microbiology for iGEM.

Back in March when the iGEM season had just started, Maurice, a fellow iGEM Marburg team member, told me that he was exchanging emails with Margaretha Schwartz from Promega. Given my background as a physics student, Promega was not a household name for me at the time. “So, are you interested in automating a plasmid purification protocol?” asked Maurice. He told me that Promega was willing to supply the Wizard® MagneSil® Plasmid Purification System for this purpose; that was another name that added to my confusion.

This year, iGEM Marburg is aiming to establish a fast phototrophic organism as a synthetic biology chassis. For this goal we chose Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973, with a reported doubling time of 90 minutes. More specifically, we are creating an easy to use toolbox to empower rapid design testing, including genome engineering tools, self-replicating plasmid systems, natural competence and a Golden Gate-based part library. Our team chose to work on phototrophic organisms because we envision accelerating research in this particular field. (Note: Last year, Marburg’s iGEM project won the Grand Prize!)

Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Automating Plasmid Purification for iGEM”