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Cell biology

Cell lines and primary cells are widely used for the production of cell-derived biomolecules, as well as for cell-based assays.

Tecan provides sophisticated, modular automation solutions from 2D and 3D cell culture with cloning, transfection and colony picking to the point of cell-based assays and cellular analysis based on our liquid handling and detection platforms.

Overview

Cell-based screening plays an important role in the drug discovery process. Automation helps to speed up the selection of lead compounds and profiling against cellular targets. The ability to run robust cell-based assays is key to the success of screening campaigns. Tecan provides modular solutions ideal for a wide range of cell-based assays, from very low to very high throughput screening, with just one instrument running both assay development and routine screening.

Key benefits

  • Speed up your cell-based assays using automation
  • Introduce standardization for optimal results
  • Integrate of upstream and downstream applications

Cellular health

Simple set-up of dose-response experiments, including analysis of results.

Tecan offers the ideal combination of modules to optimize reagent and cell preparation for the robust and reproducible assessment of cell viability, cytotoxicity or apoptosis, independent of the analysis technology used (fluorimetric, colorimetric or luminometric). Serial dilutions for dose-response experiments are easy to set up using any of Tecan’s liquid handling platforms, while more complex compound plates can be easily prepared with the D300e Digital Dispenser.

For complete automation of the workflow, cell plates can be stored in automated environmentally-controlled CO2 incubators and components such as shakers, washers, carousels for labware and disposables storage – as well as imaging multimode readers or high content readers – can be added.

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Cell signaling/pathways

Investigate the communication of cells - more robust with automation.

Tecan provides the tools for the robust automation of orthogonal assays based on kinase activity, as well as G-protein related assays for cell-based screening focusing on cell signaling and pathways. A fully integrated laminar hood is also available to provide optimal cell protection for epigenetic assays, which typically have longer follow-up times.

Serial dilutions for dose-response experiments are easy to set up using any of Tecan’s liquid handling platforms, while more complex compound plates can be easily prepared with the D300e Digital Dispenser. For complete automation of the workflow, cell plates can be stored in automated environmentally-controlled CO2 incubators and components such as shakers, washers, carousels for labware and disposables storage – as well as imaging multimode readers or high content readers – can be added.

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Reporter genes

Find out which genes are expressed at a particular cellular event.

Reporter gene assays are an important part of life sciences research for academia and pharmaceutical companies. Expression of the reporter protein can be accomplished by direct detection of the protein or by measuring its enzymatic activity.

As these assays typically have a longer run time, proper cell protection and incubation are critical. For complete automation of the workflow, cell plates can be stored in automated environmentally-controlled CO2 incubators and components such as shakers, washers, carousels for labware and disposables storage – as well as imaging multimode readers or high content readers – can be added.

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High throughput screening

Cell-based high throughput screening is routinely supplemented with sophisticated optical assays to investigate the cellular response to stimuli such as small molecules, siRNAs or antibodies.

Tecan offers a selection of liquid handling options – including the MCA 96 and MCA 384 – to simplify assays in 96-, 384- and 1536-well plates. The innovative MCA 384 can also automatically exchange head adapters to handle different tip types, tip numbers and even rows or columns of tips. For complete automation of the workflow, cell plates can be stored in automated environmentally-controlled CO2 incubators and components such as shakers, washers, carousels for labware and disposables storage – as well as imaging multimode readers or high content readers – can be added.

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Tecan Journal Articles

The Monash Antibody Technologies Facility (MATF) in Victoria, Australia, has added a new dimension to its high throughput service, offering screening for antibody functionality. This time-consuming phase is crucial for many projects, and can now be outsourced to MATF, where comprehensive and flexible automation completes testing in a fraction of the time.

The new Spark 20M multimode microplate reader offers tailor-made solutions to suit virtually any drug discovery or advanced life science research application. This freely configurable system gives researchers access to new techniques and features intended to enhance and streamline biochemical and cell-based workflows.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has automated protocols for high throughput separation of cells for therapeutic applications on a Freedom EVO® 200 liquid handling platform. The process maintains cell viability and is more rapid and reproducible than manual methods, enabling processing of 96 samples in four hours.

Scientists in the ADME Screening, Enzymology and Automation Group at Roche, Switzerland, have successfully integrated a mosquito® nanoliter liquid handling instrument with a Freedom EVO® platform, enabling accurate, precise pipetting at very low volumes.

Scientists working in the Screening Unit at the Institute for Molecular Pharmacology in Germany are finding the low volume pipetting capability of the MultiChannel Arm™ 384 beneficial for the investigation of siRNAs and small molecule compound screening.

Tecan and pION Inc. have combined pION’s PAMPA Explorer Test System™ with Tecan’s microplate readers for drug permeability screening using the Double-Sink™ parallel artificial membrane permeability assay (PAMPA™).

The German army has automated the determination of AChE activity in whole blood. The determination of cholinesterase status is primarily intended for analyzing patients poisoned with organophosphates (accidental or suicidal poisoning), but it can also be applied after the use of nerve agents in military conflicts or terrorist attacks, as well as in the context of occupational medical examinations.

Videos

Fluent™ Laboratory Automation Solution for cell based assays.

Complete pipetting flexibility simplifies even complex custom protocols.

Swap adapter plates on the fly, even with tips attached.

Versatile Multiple Channel Arm tip arrays enable double serial dilutions for greater productivity

1536 well plate compatibility offers significantly higher throughput

Temperature controlled incubation in the dark, while shaking enables automation of complex cell-based assays

Overview

Tecan’s multimode microplate readers include cell-imaging functions and are suitable for the analysis of a wide range of cellular assays. The integration of high content readers makes it possible to observe the cellular response to stimuli directly, while flow cytometry allows the separation of specific cell types.

Key benefits

  • Seamless integration of Tecan multi- and singlemode readers
  • Ensure the appropriate environment for your cells for optimal results
  • Scalable solutions – semi-automation to high throughput
  • Co-development of applications with selected partners to offer complete solutions

Spark®

From absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence measurement to precise cell counting and brightfield-based cell imaging, discover the full range of microplate readers.

Tecan's plate readers offer a wide range of data analysis methods for your cell-based applications. The high flexibility of the Spark series combines all the main detection technologies in a single, easy-to-use instrument.

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Flow cytometry

Integrate the MACSQuant® family of instruments into Tecan’s liquid handling platforms to collect valuable data from your cell-based assays.

Cell biology workflows often require working with defined cell densities to allow correct interpretation of the data.

The MACSQuant flow cytometers from Miltenyi Biotec provide comprehensive multi-parameter flow cytometric analysis using up to three lasers and 10 optical channels. All sample preparation steps – from cell dilution to reagent addition with mixing and shaking – are fully automated, before the microplates are then transferred to the MACSQuant for final analysis.

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High content readers

Cell-based, high throughput screening is now routinely supplemented with sophisticated optical assays to investigate the cellular response to stimuli such as small molecules, miRNAs, antibodies or other compounds.

Automation of high content screening processes, combined with standardized cell culture processes – including incubation, harvesting, plating and media exchange – helps to reduce variability between samples and users.

The integration of your choice of high content reader (eg. ArrayScan™ from Thermo Scientific, IN Cell Analyzer from GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Cellavista from SynenTec) makes Tecan’s liquid handling platform a complete solution.

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Tecan Journal Articles

Since its launch at SLAS 2015 in February, the Spark® 10M has gained interest from across the life sciences community, with researchers around the world beginning to explore the advanced capabilities of this exciting new system for applications including DNA quantification, microbiology research and cell-based assays.

The new Spark 10M multimode microplate reader is designed to offer greater flexibility and increased productivity for cell biology and genomics customers. From microbiology research and cell-based assays to rapid DNA quantification, the all-new platform delivers a combination of advanced capabilities and exceptional

Videos

Below deck reader integration

Tecan Spark 20M offers a new automated brightfield cell imaging and confluence measurement feature for increased walkaway operation

Overview

From conventional monolayer cultures to sophisticated 3D cell cultures and techniques for highly delicate stem cells, Tecan offers you the right tools for your application. Routine processes, such as media exchange, expansion and antibody production, are all fully automated.

Key benefits

  • Grow cells in their natural environment – automated 3D cell culture
  • Complete workflows for monoclonal antibody production
  • Free staff time by automating repetitive cell maintenance tasks
  • Increased consistency through standardization

3D cell culture

Improve the biological relevance of your cell-based assays, cell morphology, proliferation, metabolism and expression profiles by using cells grown in 3D. Choose from a variety of formats which are either scaffold based or scaffold-free and mimic a real in vivo environment.

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Scaffold-based: 3D Bloom® microtissues

CellSpring’s 3D Bloom Biopolymer Platform is a proprietary technology for producing 3D microtissues using virtually any cell type. The naturally-derived 3D Bloom biopolymers enable cell-friendly cross-linking, organizing cells into 3D structures that allow both cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, closely mimicking the behavior of tissue in vivo. Tecan has collaborated with CellSpring to automate 3D Bloom cell culture generation on the Freedom EVO platform, combining speed and versatility with consistency and reproducibility for high throughput applications.

Scaffold-based: RAFT™ collagen scaffold

Tecan and TAP Sartorius have developed an automated process for the preparation of RAFT 3D cell cultures. RAFT is now being distributed by Lonza BioScience. The patented RAFT system offers a simple, consistent and reproducible 96-well format, providing a biologically relevant collagen matrix environment for cells. Protocols have been optimized to offer fast and reliable walkaway processing for a wide range of cell biology applications, including cell-based screening, imaging and biochemical techniques.

Scaffold-based: Alvetex® scaffold

Tecan is cooperating with Reinnervate to automate the use of the Alvetex scaffold for routine 3D cell biology on the Freedom EVO®. The Alvetex scaffold in a 96-well format can be used in any laboratory currently using 2D cell biology techniques. It provides an excellent in vivo proxy in a variety of cellular and molecular techniques and biochemical assays, as cells demonstrate enhanced cellular function and responsiveness.

Scaffold-free: GravityPLUS™

Tecan is working with InSphero, a leading supplier of organotypic 3D microtissuespheroids for biomimetic drug testing, to support scaffold-free 3D cell culture systems. Cells are grown in hanging drops of culture media using 96­well GravityPLUS™ plates, enabling the efficient and reliable formation of spheroids completely free from contact with artificial support matrices or surfaces. The 96-well GravityTRAP™ assay plate ensures the microtissue is centered within the well, offering proper optical characteristics and excellent compatibility with multimode readers, such as the Infinite® 200 PRO.

 

Antibody production

Increase productivity of the labor-intensive process of antibody production.

Producing antibodies against a large number of antigens is a time-consuming process, and requires a number of complex steps such as cell fusion, hybridoma clone selection and cell expansion. Automating all or even just the most labor-intensive processing steps offers a significant increase in productivity, making it possible for a single facility to produce thousands of monoclonal antibodies annually.

Cell maintenance and expansion

Automate major bottlenecks, such as media exchange, cell plating, incubation and assay preparation, with specialized tools and devices.

Culture vessels

1-1'536 well plates, tubes, RoboFlasks®, transwell plates

Robotics

Plate, lid and insert handling, tube handling, plate inclination, RoboFlask operation

Storage

High capacity CO2 incubators, workdeck incubators, consumable storage (carousels, stackers)

Imaging

Confluence measurement, cell counting

Biocontainment

Sterile environment with HEPA filter and UV protection or Class II Biosafety Cabinet.

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Stem cells

Automated handling of delicate stem cells for reproducible results.

Growth of both pluripotent and differentiated cells – with or without feeder cells – can be fully automated by placing the instrument in a sterile environment. Integrated detection devices keep track and react to undesirable spontaneous differentiation. The system's flexibility also enables you to pipette low volumes of growth factors, cytokines and other additives, as well as offering high volume dispensing of media and buffers.

Tecan Journal Articles

A 3D revolution
[TJ 02/2016]

A novel 3D cell culture platform is enabling scientists to generate microtissues that closely mimic the behavior of human tissues from virtually any cell type. This proprietary technology is easily automated, offering speed and versatility, combined with consistency and reproducibility, for high throughput applications.

Degenerative eye diseases affect millions of people around the world, causing progressive loss of vision and, in some cases, complete blindness. Researchers in Australia are using stem cell technologies to investigate ways of halting, or even reversing, the effects of common eye diseases.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has automated protocols for high throughput separation of cells for therapeutic applications on a Freedom EVO® 200 liquid handling platform. The process maintains cell viability and is more rapid and reproducible than manual methods, enabling processing of 96 samples in four hours.

Tecan and TAP Biosystems have created an automated 3D cell culture screening platform by automating TAP’s RAFT™ cell culture technology on the Freedom EVO® workstation. This system uses in vivo-like concentrations of collagen matrix to ensure cell growth and proliferation in an environment closely resembling native tissue, with the added reliability and throughput of automated liquid handling.

Freiburg-based Oncotest GmbH specializes in preclinical pharmacological contract research, and has successfully automated 3D cell culture on a Freedom EVO® workstation using polystyrene-based Alvetex® Scaffold 96-well plates from Reinnervate

Tecan and InSphero have developed a novel solution for analyzing 3D cell cultures based on the Infinite® M200 PRO and InSphero’s 3D InSight™ microtissue technology. This solution is designed to facilitate the use of 3D cell culture formats in drug screening applications, helping to reduce the cost of early phase drug development.

Videos

3D Bloom Microtissues – The Next Level in 3D Cell Culture

Watch how the hydrogel RAFT is prepared from cell inoculation to generation of the cell culture.

Introduction into 3D cell culture with Alvetex Scaffold

Confocal imaging of cell cytoskeletal structures

Tecan Spark 20M offers a new automated brightfield cell imaging and confluence measurement feature for increased walkaway operation.

Gentle washing of weakly adherent cells

High capacity carousel with barcode reading capacity for sample tracking

Keep reagents clean in a sealed container. Piercing through the septum with fixed washable tips prevents contamination

Temperature controlled incubation in the dark, while shaking enables automation of complex cell-based assays

Keeping cells in suspension in a deep well plate on a shaker, without  pausing for pipetting

Overview

Successful cell biology workflows rely on the generation of high quality clones. Tecan offers fully automated transfection from standard methods such as lipofection, to specialized nucleofection methods. Subsequent selection of the ideal clones is achieved through the integration of colony picking or cell separation devices.

Key benefits

  • Efficient transfection and expression of proteins of interest
  • Pick the right clones in the shortest timeframe
  • Decreased development times of cell lines
  • Co-development of applications with selected partners to offer complete solutions

Efficient colony picking

Effortless and reliable picking of bacteria, fungi, algae, hybridoma and mammalian cell colonies.

Automate the most labor-intensive and error-prone steps of your cloning and cell line development workflow. Designed specifically for Tecan’s liquid handling platforms, the Pickolo™ Colony-Picker from SciRobotics can be seamlessly integrated with up and downstream experiments like NAP, PCR set-up or protein purification.

Key advantages are

  • fast performance – pick up to 800 colonies per hour on Freedom EVO and up to 1000 colonies per hour on Fluent
  • flexible colony selection criteria by color, size and more
  • intuitive picking profile creation – just click on the colonies you like best
  • flexible source plates – Petri dishes, SBS-formats.
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Automated spiral plating and streaking

Complete your cloning and microbiology screening workflow by integrating a fully automated, high throughput solution for Petri dish inoculation.

Manual plating can be tedious, especially if the preparation of serial dilutions is taken into account. Combining the SciRobotics PetriPlater™ with Tecan’s liquid handling platforms provides a tailored solution to accelerate plating and free up staff time.

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Spiral plating

Set up various dilutions in a single plate for colony counting:

  • Uniform rotation speed – to achieve a 1:6 dilution
  • Accelerating rotation speed – to provide dilution ratios of 1:20 to 1:50
  • Decelerating rotation speed – to achieve uniform sample distribution
  • Segmented plating – to create different sample dilutions across a plate to save space and time

Spiral streaking

  • Spatially separated colonies for reliable colony-picking experiments
  • Work with samples in a variety of labware formats – including tubes, deep-well plates or even Petri dishes (in combination with the Pickolo™ Colony-Picker)
  • Ideal for streaking out urine, blood, swabs and other sample types

Scalable solution

  • Dedicated, compact and cost-effective solution including a Freedom EVO® 75 with robotic and single channel pipetting arms, PetriPlater and Petri dish storage
  • Add functionality – combine with the Pickolo Colony-Picker to complete your microbiology or synthetic biology workflow
  • Take advantage of a larger Freedom EVO or Fluent® workstation to integrate colony plating and streaking with other up- and downstream experiments

Save money, space and time

  • Robotic arm handles up to 60 Petri dishes per hour
  • Plate different dilutions on one Petri dish to save handling time, consumables costs and space
  • Fully automated serial dilutions for true walkaway processing

Reproducible Transfection and Expression

Automate all time-consuming and laborious processes of transfecting different cell types, from preparation of cells and transfection mixes to incubation of the transfection plate.

Tecan’s workstations have a proven track record for automated transfection, no matter which method is used: lipofectamine, calcium phosphate or polyethylenimine (PEI) based transfection or Lonza’s Nucleofector® 96-well Shuttle™ system. Tecan instruments are also used for siRNA screenings.

Generation and expression of nucleic acid constructs are often based on standardized kits. Tecan works together with the most renowned kit manufacturers to jointly supply worry-free automation protocols. Whether your individual workflow solution requires a clean bench or a Class II Biosafety Cabinet, a CO2 incubator, cooling or heating devices to keep samples and reagents stable, or a multimode imaging reader, Tecan can provide you with tailored solutions.

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Reliable clone selection

Find the optimal clones from a pool of randomly generated cell lines faster.

Cell line development is the centerpiece of any biologically-produced therapeutic, yet creating stable producing cell lines for research and production is still, to some extent, a chance process. The most critical and inconsistent step of the process is selecting the optimal clones from a pool of randomly generated cell lines.

Automation can be applied to limited-dilution plating, plate replication, assessing single cell clone origin, clone picking, expression screening using ELISAs, protein quantification and a range of protein characterization methods in order to reduce development time and fulfill regulatory requirements for data and process documentation.

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Safe cell separation

Discover unique and comprehensive solutions for high throughput cellular and biomolecule separation and analysis.

Tecan and Miltenyi Biotec have joined forces. Choose between the MultiMACS™ Cell24 Separator Plus to separate unaltered, viable cells and the MultiMACS M96thermo Separator to isolate viruses and biomolecules, such as nucleic acids or proteins, without worrying about cross contamination.

Key advantages are

  • seamless software integration into Freedom EVOware®
  • contactless pipetting to prevent cross contamination
  • flexible format – 24- and 96-well
  • separation of viruses, cells, nucleic acids, proteins and more.
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Tecan Journal Articles

Designer proteins
[TJ 03/2015]

Researchers at the University of Montreal have benefitted from Tecan’s collaboration with SciRobotics to automate DNA assembly protocols for synthetic biology. Combining a Freedom EVO® 200 with a Pickolo™ Colony-Picker and various other components, the Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology Research Unit has built a streamlined cloning workflow with increased throughput and reliability.

Extended periods of walkaway operation are essential to the work carried out by Spanish energy producer Repsol, which relies on two Freedom EVO® platforms and Tecan’s 350 μl nested liquid handling disposable tips for its research into alternative energy sources.

Russia has been a fast-growing region for biotechnology and life sciences in recent years, with food and agriculture being key focus areas. Here is a snapshot from laboratories looking at the contrasting roles of microbiology in food production, both employing Tecan equipment in their workflows.

Laboratory automation and LIMS specialist Mejoran Lab Automation has developed a customized method for automated fungal colony picking on a Freedom EVO® 150 platform with an integrated SciRobotics Pickolo™ Colony-Picker. This innovative colony picking method produces viable microinocula of consistent quality for downstream assays, reducing the time needed to select mutants for further investigation from one week to one day.

The Life Sciences laboratory of the Central Research Institute at Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd has used Tecan’s Freedom EVO® 200 workstation to develop a successful automated protocol for efficient siRNA transfection, paving the way for efficient high throughput screening of small RNA libraries.

Automation with the Freedom EVO® system and SciRobotics’ Pickolo™ Colony-Picker has revolutionized the gene cloning and colony picking workflow at Evogene’s laboratory, allowing time-efficient and reliable tracking of cloning processes and enabling scientists to increase the yearly production of clones.

Tecan and amaxa GmbH (now Lonza) have successfully integrated the amaxa Nucleofector® 96-well Shuttle® System with the Tecan Freedom EVO® liquid handling workstation, allowing fully automated, high throughput transfection of primary cells and difficult-to-transfect cell lines, including non-dividing neurons and T cells, with siRNA, DNA and other substrates.

Videos

Colony picking with Pickolo™ on Freedom EVO®

Precise hit picking from 96 well to 384 well microplate

Brochure

Discover tailor-made solutions for your cell biology workflow from cell maintenance and cell-based assays to life cell imaging.

Cell-based assays - Brochures

Tecan has teamed up with pION Inc. to provide an automated solution for running high throughput drug permeability screening, using the pION Double-Sink™ parallel artificial membrane permeability assays (PAMPA™) and μSOL™ solubility assay. The flexibility of Tecan’s Freedom EVO® workstation and Infinite® M200 PRO microplate reader, combined with Pion’s Gut-Box™ microplate stirrer and PAMPA Evolution™ technology, provides a complete solution for drug candidate screening.

Tecan has created a range of automated ADME screening systems which maximize the efficiency and throughput of these processes. These systems are based on our liquid handling platform for automated cell permeability, compound characterization, in vitro drug metabolism and cell culturing procedures.

Discover a platform that speaks the language of your laboratory, and make your cell-based assays simpler, more efficient… and fluent.

Cell-based assays - Application notes

The data presented in this application note underlines the suitability of the D300e Digital Dispenser for protein-based assays.

The results generated with the D300e Digital Dispenser are consistent with an expertly performed manual process, but with the benefit of significant time savings and the elimination of serial dilution.

Fully automated HDAC assays on the Fluent® Laboratory Automation Solution where triplicates of 10 serially diluted compounds per plate were tested for dose response to selective histone deacetylase inhibition.

The ability to carry out cell-based G-Protein coupled receptor (GPCR) assays in high throughput is a key part of the drug discovery process. Combining a Fluent® Laboratory Automation Solution configured for cell-based assays with the DiscoverX PathHunter® β-Arrestin human and ortholog GPCR assay kits gives users the power to run 384-well plate-based assays in high throughput.

Growth inhibition (GI50) of a set of eight compounds was tested on four different NCI-60 cell lines on a Fluent® Laboratory Automation Solution.

Easy automation of Cisbio’s EPIgeneous™ cell-based assays on a Fluent® Laboratory Automation Solution. In order to discover the optimal assay conditions, four different cell densities of three different cell lines were deployed to determine the level of H3K27Me3 and total H3 under different conditions.

Increasing sample numbers drive many laboratories to look for opportunities to automate and optimize their liquid handling processes. One of the dilemmas that laboratories face when configuring their automated liquid handling systems is the need to balance capacity and functionality against space and budget constraints.

The PAMPA Explorer Test System™ implemented on Tecan´s Infinite® M200 PRO multimode microplate reader comprises a quick, reliable system that accurately models both human jejunal permeability (GIT) and rodent blood-brain barrier (BBB) uptake of candidate drug molecules, based on measurements of permeability across artificial phospholipid membranes.

Cell-based assays - Posters

Cytochrome P450 screening assay automated in a 384-well microplate format for lead generation using three different CYP enzymes.

Easy automation of a biochemical assay on the Fluent® Laboratory Automation Solution to identify coagulation factor IIa inhibitors in a 384-well plate format.

Cellular imaging and analysis - Brochure

The Spark® 20M multimode microplate reader offers tailor-made solutions to suit virtually any drug discovery or advanced life science research application. Enhanced cell-based assay capabilities, like automated cell imaging and confluence measurement features, offer optimal assay results and greater walkaway operation.

Cellular imaging and analysis - Application notes

This Technical Note describes the functions and benefits of the Spark multimode microplate reader and cell imaging module, as well as the SparkControl software and its dedicated Cell Counting and Cell Viability Application.

In this technical note, we demonstrate the superior performance of the Spark reader compared to two other multimode readers from different providers. The detection limit for the far red fluorescent dye Alexa Fluor 647 – which has a fluorescence spectrum comparable to Cy5 – was determined, operating each instrument in MCR mode.

Cell counting, viability analysis and determination of size distribution are routinely performed by researchers across multiple disciplines, from standard cell passaging for downstream experiments to using insect cells infected with baculovirus to produce recombinant proteins, or determining the differentiation capacity of stem cells. Tecan’s Spark multimode reader has an integrated, bright field cell imaging module. This patent-pending system enables label-free cell counting, size distribution determination and trypan blue-based cell viability analysis with an easy-to-use, disposable Cell Chip™. In this study, the analysis of cell concentration, cell viability and size distribution for the determination of the optimal protein production rate in recombinant Sf21 cell cultures is presented.

For many cell biology applications – such as the identification and separation of high expression clones or knock-down candidates, and small-scale antibody or protein production – it is important to ensure that cell lines originates from a single cell, i.e. they are monoclonal. This can be a major bottleneck, especially for academic laboratories, as dedicated automated microscopy systems are both very expensive and complex to operate, meaning verification of monoclonality is often performed by manual microscopy.

Tecan’s Spark multimode microplate reader with integrated cell imaging simplifies cell culture, featuring quality checks and signal normalization to cell confluence, thereby boosting automation of cell-based studies.

Cell migration is a central process in the development and maintenance of multicellular organisms, with tissue formation during embryonic development, wound healing and immune responses all requiring the orchestrated movement and assembly of cells.

Cellular imaging and analysis - Posters

Until now, it has only been possible to heat multimode readers using temperature control, not to set them at ambient temperature or lower. This can cause problems for temperature-sensitive experiments, such as enzymatic assays, affecting the reproducibility of results over time. In addition, the experimental precision can be decreased by the plate heating up during measurements, even over just a few minutes. Tecan’s Te-Cool™ module for the Spark® platform, the first air conditioning system for a multimode reader, addresses this problem. This unique device can cool the measurement chamber, enabling it to be set at any user-defined temperature from 18 to 42 °C, guaranteeing stable conditions every time, in every lab, across every season, anywhere in the world.

In cell culture applications, confluence assessment is an important quality control parameter that is commonly used to estimate the proportion of adherent cells on a growth surface as an indicator of the cell density inside a well or culture flask. Some cell lines behave differently regarding their growth rate or gene expression depending on the degree of confluence. Consistent determination of cell confluence and estimation of cell numbers are therefore important for reproducible assays and accurate interpretation of experimental data. However, visual cell imaging using microscopes is usually a time-consuming and laborious process, especially when multiple samples are being analyzed. A solution for this problem is automated cell confluence assessment, realized in the Spark® 20M multimode reader.

Cell culture - Application notes

CellSpring’s 3D Bloom microtissue platform is a new technology that shows promise for 3D cell culture. It can be used to make microtissues of virtually any cell type. The rapid assembly of cells within the 3D Bloom scaffold enables the generation of microtissues ready for testing in as little as 30 minutes, compared to hours or days using other methods.

TAP Biosystems (now part of Sartorius) has developed a 3D cell culture technique – RAFT™ (Real Architecture for 3D Tissue) – that allows researchers to culture their choice of cell type, including primary cells, in an in vivo-like environment. This application note documents the automated production of four 96-well RAFT cell culture plates in parallel, using the HCT-116 cancer cell line as an example for a typical tumoroid-forming cell line. It compares cellular viability and response to the anti-cancer compound doxorubicin in RAFT 3D cell cultures and classical 2D cell cultures.

Tecan and TAP Biosystems have developed an automated process for the preparation of RAFT™ cell cultures. Implementation on the Freedom EVO® system, with its modular automation capabilities, increases experimental versatility and analytical flexibility. In this application note, we present cell viability and proliferation data for primary neonatal human dermal fibroblasts obtained over an 11-day culture period after seeding.

Technological advances in the last couple of years have enabled 3D scaffolds to be engineered that offer a real proxy for the in vivo environment which can be easily and routinely used in a cell culture laboratory. The Alvetex® scaffold enables cells to develop natural, in vivo-like intercellular interactions, providing an ideal environment for real three-dimensional growth and nutrient exchange that is comparable to intra-capillary exchange in living tissues.

Combining Tecan’s Infinite® M200 PRO with InSphero’s organotypic microtissue tumor model provides a scalable system to assess drug sensitivity in complex 3D cell culture models. This allows long-term, tissue-based analyses – such as cell proliferation studies – offering reproducible measurements over time.

This application note demonstrates the potential advantages of automated stem cell culture in biopharmaceutical and cell-based therapy applications, where a consistent quality of cultured cells is essential.

Establishing protocols for automated harvesting of various cell lines from multi-well plates.

Researchers in the Department of Biochemical Engineering, University College London (UCL), UK, have automated stem cell culture on a custom-built Freedom EVO® 100 platform. Benefits compared to manual methods are higher consistency and reproducibility, better protection of cells from contamination, and improved operator safety.

This application note serves as a guide to adapt and establish harvesting protocols for various adherent cell lines growing in Corning® RoboFlask™ robot-friendly cell culture flasks using Tecan’s Freedom EVO® liquid handling platform equipped with a flask handling device (Flask Flipper).

Cell culture - Posters

TAP Biosystems (now part of Sartorius) and Tecan have worked together to develop an automated process that enables researchers to increase throughput, facilitate mixing procedures and enhance reliability while maintaining cell viability, reproducibility, experimental versatility and analytical flexibility.

To simplify the adoption of 3D techniques in drug discovery, this project investigated the automation of a hydrogel-based modular 3D cell culture system using a liquid handling robot. This approach was proven to be absolutely comparable to manually-produced hydrogels.

Oncotest maintains a unique repository of >300 tumor xenograft models representing all major histotypes as well as niche tumors. After evaluating many 3D cell culture platforms, Oncotest has chosen Alvetex® scaffold 96 because of its simplicity, low cost of adoption and flexibility to study tumor cell cytotoxicity, as well as mechanism of drug action at the translational and post-transcriptional levels.

Cloning and transfection - Application notes

The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the University of Montreal established a reliable, fully automated cloning workflow on a Freedom EVO® workstation. This system performs fully automated multi-fragment DNA assembly, customized plating in ANSI/SLAS-format plates, colony picking and PCR set-up – as well as agar plate preparation – allowing the group to greatly increase the throughput of its experiments.

A Freedom EVO® 150 workstation with a SciRobotics’ Pickolo™ Colony-Picker module proved the ideal solution to perform both fungal selection and the subsequent screening of different culture conditions. The Freedom EVO workstation can easily identify, select and pick fungal colonies based on user-selected criteria, and achieved 100 % microinoculum growth for subsequent experiments due to Pickolo’s unique picking procedures.

The Nucleofector® technology from Lonza has been specifically designed for difficult-to-transfect cell lines and primary cells, including stem cells, T lymphocytes and non-dividing neurons. This application note describes the integration of the Nucleofector into Tecan’s Freedom EVO® liquid handling platform to fully automate the transfection process.

Cloning and transfection - Posters

Using primary cells for RNAi-based applications, such as target identification or validation, requires a highly efficient transfection technology in combination with a reliable and robust automation system. To accomplish these requirements, we integrated the Amaxa™ Nucleofector™ 96-well Shuttle® System into a Tecan Freedom EVO® cell transfection workstation.

Are you looking for your own customized cell biology solution? Click here to get inspired.
 

For research use only.