Lab Automation with Style

As seen in Genomeweb this week, Bio-Rad Laboratories launched an automated front end for its CFX96 and CFX384 real-time PCR detection systems, marking the company’s first automated real-time PCR system. The new technology, called the CFX automation system, includes a bench-top plate handler that can load up to 20 384-well plates, or 7,680 samples, at one time on the CFX384. It also includes control software that manages the configuration and operation of the CFX automation system so that researchers can assign either the same or manifold PCR protocols across each plate. The automated system is targeted at anyone who wants to increase their throughput and run their system in an automated environment.

Essentially, we are talking about having a set of machines that will pipette samples and mastermix into the PCR plate, load the plate into the PCR machine, run the protocol and EMAIL THE DATA to you once the run has completed.

Remember the days of pipetting into centrifuge tubes, setting up 3 waterbaths (one for denaturing, another for annealing and another for extending) and then manually incubating the tubes in each bath for 1 minute and cycling that 30-40 times? (OK…so I’m not that old to remember that either but my master’s degree supervisor kept talking about how he did that when he was in the lab). In any event, doing research used to mean that we’d have to be in the lab setting up our experiments and waiting for our results. How cool is it that I can now set up my reagents, primers probes and samples, walk away, go home and do my analysis from home once the data file is sent to me? This is definitely the wave of the future. Couple this with a laboratory management program such as bioKM from Biodata that could organize your data within the context of your experiment and all you’d be missing is the automatic “peer-reviewed” paper writing machine.

Very cool. What will they think of next!

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