Robot speeds up NZ uni's research efforts

Monday, 07 May, 2018 | Supplied by: AXT Pty Ltd

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has installed an automated liquid handling system to probe the atomic structure of proteins.

The TTP Labtech mosquito liquid handling solution, installed by AXT, will accelerate research by facilitating automatic preparation of hundreds of samples.

The mosquito is particularly suitable for protein crystallographers as it combines speed, accuracy and high-precision pipetting, all in a user-friendly package. In addition, the positive displacement pipette technology ensures repeatable liquid dispensing down to the nanolitre level that maximises the usability of valuable reagents. Combining this with single-use disposable pipette tips prevents potential cross-contamination, ensuring the purity and accuracy of each and every formulation prepared.

The automated and high-throughput nature of the mosquito liquid handling system will allow researchers to prepare vast numbers of samples required for accurate screening experiments. These numbers are typically in the hundreds, if not the thousands, and are necessary to help identify the optimal conditions for preparing the best crystals. Use of the mosquito accelerates this process, bringing it down from days or even months.

“The mosquito has become a valuable instrument in our research workflow,” said Professor Emily Parker from the Ferrier Research Institute at the Victoria University of Wellington. “Important biological processes are mediated by proteins. Studying protein structures helps us to understand how proteins function. This understanding will help us to control and engineer desired proteins that can be used as treatments to address critical global problems.”

Richard Trett, managing director at AXT, said, “Research into protein-based therapeutics is on the increase, as they are more easily assimilated into the body’s own defence system. We are pleased that we can offer systems like the mosquito and other screening technologies that will help develop the next generation of biopharmaceuticals to teams like Professor Parker’s, with a view to minimising the impacts of diseases and ailments that affect our society.”

The mosquito from TTP Labtech is part of AXT’s protein-based product portfolio that also includes X-ray-based protein crystallography systems from Rigaku Oxford Diffraction and protein characterisation tools from Unchained Labs.

Image caption: Researchers at the Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, with their TTP Labtech mosquito system. 

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