Taking the next step

Hamilton Robotics and Promega expand their collaborative relationship to co-develop an entire automated system

Jeffrey Bouley

RENO, Nevada—With a plan to launch their new system later this year, Hamilton Robotics and Promega Corp. announced in late August that they will collaborate in the development of an automated system for the isolation of genomic DNA (gDNA) from large-volume blood samples.

Although it is true that life science research has seen a recent "overall trend toward miniaturization," notes Rick Luedke, product manager for Hamilton Robotics, several genetic analysis applications require the ability to isolate DNA from large sample volumes. Automated large-volume liquid handling poses specific challenges that Hamilton has been able to address, Luedke notes, most recently with the introduction of its 5ml independent pipetting channels and 5ml disposable tips for the MICROLAB STAR platform.

So, the collaboration will be based on Hamilton's MICROLAB STAR liquid handling technology and on Promega's systems and reagents, with a goal of this new product offering increasing throughput for large-volume applications such as biobanking, pharmacogenomics and genetic research.

Promega's new methods, which will be part of the work of this collabration employ next-generation technology and novel chemistry, says Jeff Briganti, strategic marketing manager for Promega. This allows for "a more robust automated process with increased recovery, higher concentration and enhanced purity of gDNA isolated from large-volume blood samples compared to previous automated techniques."

Hamilton found Promega to be the right collaborator for this task in large part because "Promega is a recognized leader in innovative systems and chemistries for molecular biology applications and we have automated a number of their top-selling products," Luedke says, noting that the company has some 2,000 products on the market to enable scientists worldwide to advance their knowledge in genomics, proteomics, cellular analysis, molecular diagnostics and human identification.

"We're pleased to work with them on a solution that addresses key bottlenecks in large-volume genomic DNA extraction," Luedke says.

Looking at why Hamilton was the right partner at the right time, Briganti points out that Hamilton's air displacement pipetting technology offers "a number of unique advantages over other robotics systems."

Also, he adds, "We have already successfully collaborated with them to create and optimize automated protocols for several applications. This collaboration takes the relationship one step further toward the co-development of an entire system."

One of the most recent optimization collaborations between the two companies took place just a few months ago, with the June 17 announcement of a tested and verified protocol for automation of the Promega Wizard SV 96 Plasmid DNA Purification System. Developed in collaboration with Promega, the new high-throughput method purifies DNA from pelleted bacterial culture samples using Hamilton's MICROLAB STAR workstation and processes up to 96 plasmid samples in 30 minutes or less, reportedly with consistent results and no detectable cross-contamination.

The purified plasmid can be used directly for automated fluorescent DNA sequencing, restriction enzyme digestion and other downstream molecular biology processes.


Jeffrey Bouley

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