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Use of a Microlitre Digital Liquid Handler for Screening Applications

Assay optimisation entails the study of multiple parameters to maximise screening performance. As a result, the determination of the optimal conditions can be a costly, time consuming process requiring the set-up of multiple studies to analyse each individual parameter. Often, such studies are limited by manual pipetting when performed in microplates.
Digital dispensing offers researchers the most freedom for experimental design and sample placement with each microplate. Essentially, it allows the creation of any plate map through dispensation of any volume of liquid into any well. In doing so, a digital approach removes the burdens and technical constraints associated with manually handling such complexities, making it relatively simple to plan and execute the most desirable experimental design and not one predicated by manual or automated liquid handling.

The novel dispensing head technology in the dragonfly┬« digital liquid handler (TTP Labtech, UK) enables non-contact, positive displacement pipetting from disposable syringes directly into assay plates. The system can distribute fluids of a wide range of viscosities, ethanol to glycerol; with a minimum dispense volume of 0.5 ┬ÁL with zero cross-contamination. Independent volume control and simultaneous digital dispensing from up to 10 pipetting heads provide total freedom of plate layout. Suitable applications range from formatting multi-dimensional reagent optimisation experiments to simple backfilling of each well with assay buffer.

This poster demonstrates that a dragonfly liquid handler is a valuable compact low-cost addition to the discovery workbench, eliminating the tedium of complicated microplate set-up while maintaining flexibility.