Monday, February 21, 2011

Robotic NanoString Experiment

Today was finished our first large scale experiment using our robotic platform. 

Assaf programmed the robot to grow 90+ strains of yeast over two days to reach optimal conditions (as I previously described), then the robot stimulated them and harvested cells at 9 time points. Each harvesting step involved taking small amount of cells from the plate they were growing them and plunging them into a plate of cold liquid methanol. This immediately freezes the cells and "stops" them cold (literally).

Next, Assaf used the protocol he and Ayelet devised for extracting RNA from yeast cells, to process these 9 x 96well plates. These will be shipped to Ollie's lab for running the NanoString assay to measure exact RNA quantities.

This was the first time we had an actual experiment running from start to finish. Although we "debugged" various parts before, putting all of them together uncovered all types of problems. Assaf had to restart the growth several time before we had the whole thing running. But now we are smarter and know how to get things right the next time.

After few days of heavy robot use, Assaf collected all the plasticware he used. Here is a picture of triumphant Assaf at the end of the process.

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