LPAT Installs Robot for Analysis of Clinical Samples
To meet the increased demand for estrogen analysis, LPAT scientists are working with Tecan engineers to design an automated liquid handling station capable of conducting the sample preparation steps necessary to hydrolyze, extract, and derivatize the estrogen metabolites in preparation for mass spectrometry (MS) analysis. The Tecan robot uncaps the original sample vial, removes a specified aliquot, and dispenses it into a test tube to which hydrolysis buffer is added. After the samples incubate overnight, the robot adds extraction buffer to the samples and places them into a rotary device where they are mixed. Then, the samples are automatically placed in a centrifuge and spun for approximately 20 minutes. After removing the liquid containing the extracted estrogens, dansyl chloride is added to derivatize the molecules. After this step, the robot transfers all of the samples into vials that are placed into the injection rack of the liquid chromatography system, where they are automatically analyzed by MS. While a scientist can conduct all of the sample preparation steps in roughly the same amount of time that the Tecan robot does, the increase in throughput is realized from the fact that the scientist is able to focus more on data analysis and development of methods to measure other biomarkers.