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Dolomite and Emerald BioSystems collaborate to produce award winning novel protein crystallography instrument

Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
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Dolomite is delighted to announce its collaboration with Emerald BioSystems in the development of the Microcapillary Protein Crystallization System (MPCS) Plug Maker™.

The Plug Maker has just won the coveted “New Product Award” at LabAutomation 2010 (Palm Springs, CA). This novel touchscreen instrument enables low-volume crystallization (5-10 nL protein/experiment), for the production of diffraction-ready crystals with no wasted protein. The MPCS Plug Maker is ideal for applications such as ligand screening, hybrid screening and microfluidic seeding. The Plug Maker is a self-contained unit operated from a built-in touchscreen control unit, taking up less than two feet of bench width.

In under a year, Dolomite carried out all elements of the Plug Maker system design and development (including concept generation, industrial design, hardware and software engineering, and manufacture), creating an easy-to-use system based on Emerald’s core science.

Holder for Plug Maker lab cardThe Plug Maker automates well-validated Emerald technology, rapidly creating a series of 10nl plugs of protein and precipitant samples in a plastic CrystalCard, which are then allowed to crystallize. This revolutionary performance was made possible using Dolomite’s ultra-smooth pump technology, coupled with its world-beating expertise in microfluidic devices and connector engineering. Dolomite added further value by completing the entire instrument design (including a vision system, fully automated liquid handling system and touchscreen control software). The development took just 18 months from first concept to launch at LabAutomation.

FExploded image of Pug Maker z-headine gradient optimization and sparse matrix screening can be performed simultaneously to identify optimal crystallization growth conditions. Experimental conditions are easily optimized with the ability to form on-chip gradients, with only 22 µl of protein needed. In addition, the ability to perform up to 800 experiments per chip maximizes throughput for a highly efficient workflow.

Lance Stewart, CEO, Emerald BioSystems commented, “Dolomite has delivered a world-class product in the Plug Maker. Using Dolomite’s microfluidic expertise, we have rapidly been able to take the product from initial concept and proof of principle to full instrument manufacture.” Dolomite is subsequently supplying manufactured units solely to Emerald BioSystems and has agreed to collaborate with them on any further developments to the instrument.

For further information on the MPCS Plug Maker, please visit

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