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Spotlight on Acoustic Liquid Handling

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Acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) has been widely accepted as the state-of-the-art liquid handling solution in high-throughput screening for drug discovery, and now this unique technology is being applied in a rapidly growing set of applications and having a powerful impact. A new special issue of the Journal of Laboratory Automation (JALA), titled “Advancing Scientific Innovation with Acoustic Droplet Ejection,” features more than 20 articles–covering more than 200 pages of peer-reviewed scientific reports–that highlight the revolutionary nature of ADE across a diverse range of scientific challenges. 

ADE uses acoustic energy to transfer fluids without pipette tips or pin tools. Sound waves eject precisely sized droplets of source liquid to a microplate, microscope slide, or other surface. Demonstrated benefits of the approach include assay miniaturization, more biologically relevant results, and unparalleled precision, accuracy, and speed.

The JALA special issue highlights how ADE has fostered innovation in many fields, including personalized medicine, synthetic biology, and drug combination therapy. Other articles focus on using ADE to improve results while reducing costs in next-generation sequencing library preparation, genotyping, RNA interference, and cell-based assays. The special issue also dives into areas not often addressed by JALA, including the novel benefits of ADE in protein crystallography and mass spectrometry.

Joe Olechno, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at Labcyte and a guest editor of the journal, commented: “Scientists new to acoustic droplet ejection will be surprised that a liquid handling technique can have such significant impact on their experiments and results, and researchers currently using ADE will find new ways to use their systems with this special issue.”

Mark Fischer-Colbrie, Chief Executive Officer of Labcyte, said: “The power of acoustic liquid handling is breaking barriers in an ever-growing number of applications. We are proud that Echo acoustic liquid handlers have helped set new standards of performance for automated liquid handling based on this approach. The results are that new drugs are being developed, others are being re-purposed, and true personalized medicine can be achieved. We also see significant improvements in diagnostics and synthetic biology.”

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