Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Reprogramming Nature

Published: Monday, October 07, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, October 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers in the Synthetic Biology Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are using a Freedom EVO® workstation to aid the development of genetic circuits.

By automating the laborious liquid handling protocols, the platform has increased throughput from just a few samples to hundreds of experiments a day.

Genetic circuits are an exciting area of synthetic biology, with potential applications in areas as diverse as biofuel production and medicine. These plasmid constructs have the ability to regulate the function of host bacterial, yeast or mammalian cells, reprogramming them to produce novel substances, change appearance or exhibit different behavior. Researchers in the Synthetic Biology Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, are working on several collaborative projects to develop genetic circuits for a variety of applications. Dr Jonathan Babb, a researcher at MIT, explained: “If you think about it in engineering terms, we are building a machine by taking specific DNA sequences and putting them together in different combinations to form genetic circuits. A collection of these circuits can then be loaded into a host cell, reprogramming it. The Weiss Laboratory at MIT recently published an example of this approach, where a genetic circuit triggers apoptosis in cancer cells, but not in healthy cells, offering diagnosis and treatment in one step. Another potential application is in biofuel development, reengineering bacteria to efficiently produce fuels such as biodiesel.”

“Although we use a modular approach, development of these genetic circuits is still very time­consuming and labor-intensive, and so we purchased a Freedom EVO 150 platform to meet our liquid handling needs. This platform effectively transforms what is already done in electronics – pushing buttons to activate software and hardware to produce the desired circuit – to our synthetic biology experiments. Scaling up this process on a robotic system also gives us higher throughput and repeatability without the variability inherent in manual procedures.”  

“We specifically chose a Tecan system for this application because the software and hardware are easy to extend, and we wanted the flexibility to experiment with different combinations of modules. The Freedom EVOware® software has an open architecture, making it easy to write and develop scripts and connect the instrument to our own systems and software, and the design of the hardware undoubtedly helps with the integration of our own modules and apparatus onto the worktable. For example, we wanted to be able to store enzymes at -20 oC on the deck, and were able to get an automation-friendly chiller that could do this at fairly low cost, without having to make any major modifications to the platform.”

“We have also been able to devise our own colony picking procedures for cell-based screening, and to set up and run an ordinary, low-cost gel station on the platform. The Freedom EVO is able to automatically load and run gels on the gel station, despite the lack of a communication port on this device, eliminating the need for a lot of expensive additional hardware. The flexibility and programmability of the Freedom EVO are invaluable for this, allowing us to rapidly develop in­house solutions and create the elaborate algorithms that are required to perform the many different steps that are necessary for the assembly of genetic circuits. We have successfully demonstrated that every step in the process can be automated and run completely unattended, and are now scaling up to high throughput mode, which will see multiple 96-well plates processed per day.

“Tecan’s technical expertise has also been important to the success of our work, and we receive excellent application support from the Company. My colleagues and I attended a Tecan users’ meeting in Boston last October, specifically to find a solution to the complex issue of pipetting minute volumes of our suspensions on the Freedom EVO platform with the existing liquid classes. Tecan’s application specialists were able to give us a new liquid class that would not only be able to handle the volume and viscosity we wanted, but also direct the pipette tip to twist around and tap the side of the vessel, so that any drop of liquid would come off. We also have very good ongoing support from Tecan locally – for general advice and troubleshooting – and are kept up-to-date with new technologies and solutions which could further our research.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Too Gracious a Host
Scientists at the University of Toronto are using Tecan’s Infinite M200 PRO and Gas Control Module to study host-pathogen interactions for Legionella bacteria.
Monday, October 07, 2013
Investigating Protein Targets and Cellular Pathways in Yeasts
Scientists at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research have chosen generations of Tecan microplate readers to monitor the effects of environmental or drug perturbation on molecularly barcoded yeasts.
Monday, October 07, 2013
A Watchful Eye on Biosecurity
Intended for government laboratory and pharmaceutical screening applications, BioSentinel now recommends the Infinite F500 to all its customers.
Monday, October 07, 2013
The Tecan-Fudan University Demo Lab opens in Shanghai
Tecan and Fudan University in Shanghai have joined forces to open a demonstration laboratory in the University’s School of Pharmacy.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Tecan Shows Ongoing Commitment to Clinical and Research Markets in China
Key opinion leaders from major hospital clinical laboratories in China recently visited Tecan’s European research and development centers.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Joining the Digital Age
TES Pharma has recently purchased an HP D300 Digital Dispenser, and is now reaping the benefits of direct titration with improved assay reproducibility and more time to perform exploratory research.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Boston Plays Host to the Fifth Tecan Symposium
This year’s symposium explored the topic of ‘Mass spectrometry - the expanding role in life sciences and diagnostics.’
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tecan and Reinnervate Team up for Automation of 3D Cell Culture
Alvetex Scaffold for the automation of 3D cell culture.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tecan Collaborates with China to Embrace a Whole New Dimension in Blood Safety
Tecan is working with the Chinese Society of Blood Transfusion in a bid to steadily improve both the capabilities and the quality of blood screening services.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Tecan and Attana Extend Distribution Agreement
Tecan to distribute Attana's label-free biosensor instruments and QCM assay technology in Europe.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tecan and Covaris co-market Freedom EVO® with Adaptive Focused Acoustics™
The joint offering will be available to customers for sample preparation, compound management and next generation sequencing applications.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tecan Group and Luminex Corporation Partner to Develop Automated Newborn Screening Solution
New solution combines multiplexing and automation technologies to create novel system for newborn screening laboratories.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tecan Automated Solutions Accelerate Crop Improvement
University of Kiel scientists use Tecan Freedom EVO® for the development of TILLING® programs for rape seed and sugar beet.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Tecan Provides Automated Solutions for Molecular Pharmacology
Leibniz-Institut uses Tecan’s Freedom EVO® workstations for systematic high throughput screening of bioactive small molecule libraries.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Screening Center Chooses Tecan for Reliability and Support
The University of Chicago’s CSC is using Tecan’s Freedom EVO® workstations to provide high throughput cell screening services.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Scientific News
Study Finds Brain Chemicals that Keep Wakefulness in Check
Researchers to develop new drugs that promote better sleep, or control hyperactivity in people with mania.
Sorting Through Cellular Statistics
Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read the manual of life, DNA, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research.
Playing 'Tag' with Pollution lets Scientists See Who's It
Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot — and where.
Women’s Immune System Genes Operate Differently from Men’s
A new technology reveals that immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men, and the source of that variation is not primarily in the DNA.
Long Telomeres Associated with Increased Lung Cancer Risk
Genetic predisposition for long telomeres predicts increased lung adenocarcinoma risk.
First Artificial Ribosome Designed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell.
High-Resolution 3D Images Reveal the Muscle Mitochondrial Power Grid
NIH mouse study overturns scientific ideas on energy distribution in muscle.
Expanding the Brain
A team of researchers has identified more than 40 new “imprinted” genes, in which either the maternal or paternal copy of a gene is expressed while the other is silenced.
Identifying a Key Growth Factor in Cell Proliferation
Researchers discover that aspartate is a limiter of cell proliferation.
Study Uncovers Target for Preventing Huntington’s Disease
Scientists from Cardiff University believe that a treatment to prevent or delay the symptoms of Huntington’s disease could now be much closer, following a major breakthrough.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!