CELL SCREENING CORE
The CSC has built a highly flexible high throughput screening platform that allows project teams to carry out screens using a wide variety of assay formats and model systems in 96- or 384-well formats. The core of the platform is a liquid-handling robot with an integrated automated tissue-culture incubator and two robotic arms. Various peripheral devices are mounted on movable docking stations. This arrangement gives us the maximum flexibility for screening and assay development. It also allows us to run low throughput screens on a workstation basis
Caliper Sciclone Screening Platform
The core of ours screening system consists of a Caliper Sciclone ALH 3000 liquid handling robot with the following features:
- 96 & 384-channel pipetting heads for disposable tips
- 96 & 384-channel pipetting heads with fixed needles
- 8-channel head for disposable tips
- Tipwash station
- Internal gripper for plate transport and delidding
The Sciclone is integrated with a Liconic STX-44 automated tissue culture incubator. Plates are transferred to a diving board on the Sciclone deck where they can be accessed by the Sciclone for pipetting, delidding or transport.
The Sciclone is also integrated with two Caliper Twister II robotic arms (see picture) that allow plates or disposable tips to be transferred to and from stackers or the peripheral devices described below.
Thermo ArrayScan VTi
The Thermo ArrayScan is an automated fluorescence microscope that can read images in many plate formats. Most experiments are performed in 96- and 384-well formats. The instrument can take images in up to four channels that correspond to the standard labels DAPI, FITC/GFP, Cy3/TRITC and Cy5. Objectives available include 5x, 10x, 20x, High NA 20x. The system uses user-friendly image analysis software to extract numerical data from fluorescence images.
The instrument can generate data from a wide variety of assays including;
- Fluorescence intensity
- Spot detection
- Neurite detection
- Nuclear translocation
- Morphological analysis
- Cell shape
Manuals for various image analysis packages are available here.
The instrument can be run as a standalone system or can be integrated with the Caliper cell screening platform for integrated assays with live cells etc.
The MDC Aquamax is a plate washer for 96- & 384-well plates. It can use two wash solutions in any one protocol. It has specialized heads for washing cell plates and has proven to be an excellent device for automated automated staining protocols with fluorescent reagents, e.g. antibody staining etc.
MDC SpectraMax M5e
The MDC Spectramax is a multimode fluorescence plate-reader. It can read samples in cuvettes, 96-well- and 384-well plates. It has monochromator for both excitation and emission wavelengths and so is suitable for a wide variety of fluorophors. It can be used for wavelenghth scanning and kinetic measurements. The system can be heated to 60oC. It can read the following assay formats;
- UV/Vis absorbance (200-1000 nm)
- Fluorescence intensity (250-850 nm)
- Time resolved fluorescence (TRF)
- Time resolved FRET (HTRF)
- Fluorescence polarization
The instrument can be integrated with the Caliper cell screening platform.
This is an automated plate sealer for polypropylene and polystyrene plates. It uses metal-backed seals that are easy to remove is compatible with freezing. Sealing temperature and time need to be validated for new plate types. It can be integrated with the Caliper cell screening platform.
The Agilent VCode is an instrument for printing and applying barcode labels to plates. Labelling information is supplied to the system in a comma separated text file and a wide variety of formats are possible. The standard format that we use has four text fields and the barcode itself.
Thermo MultiDrop Combi
The MultiDrop Combi is a bulk plate dispenser. It is used to quickly an accurately transfer bulk liquids to 96- and 384-well plates. It can dispense volumes from 0.5 - 2500 ml. It is especially useful for cell plating and addition of various assay reagents. It uses an 8-channel peristaltic pump with a removable tube and tip cartridge. Users who frequently use this instrument are expected to purchase their own cartridges as incorrect cleaning can lead to blockage. Each channel has an approximate dead volume of 800 ml but this is recoverable. The MultiDrop is quite portable and can be used in the tissue-culture hood or on the bench as well as being integrated with the Caliper cell screening platform.