A robotic plate handling system for high content screening and 3D organoid culture

Project: Research project

Project Details


SUMMARY The long-term objective of this proposal is to spur the translation of basic scientific discoveries to new therapeutic strategies for a broad range of human afflictions. Northwestern University’s High Throughput Analysis Laboratory (NU-HTA) is a well-established shared resource facility that supports development and execution of diverse projects that utilize either massively parallel experiments or highly controlled automated processes. These include cell-based screening of compound libraries to identify agents that modulate important biological processes, large-scale analysis of gene function, and organotypic 3D cell culture models. NU-HTA’s suite of analytical instruments includes a high-content screening system integrated with a plate handling robotic arm and automated incubator. The system has enabled walk away image acquisition on high throughput live cell assays. The facility’s current Catalyst Express robotic arm is over 13 years old and is no longer manufactured by Thermo. The instrument has incurred increasingly expensive and time-consuming repairs in recent years. The imminent failure of a part that is no longer manufactured or available will irreparably harm the system. It is imperative that the current system be replaced. The acquisition of a new Precise Automation robotic arm integrated with the Green Button Go scheduling software will not only ensure the continued support of current NIH-funded research projects but it will also significantly enhance the capabilities of the system, including integration with an existing liquid handling instrument. The Green Button Go robotic system offers significantly more functionality and ease of use compared to competitor’s platforms. NU-HTA is a critical element of Northwestern University’s preclinical translation ecosystem administered by the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute. NU-HTA synergizes with other CLP core facilities, including medicinal chemistry capabilities, in vivo and in vitro imaging, biologics production, proteomics, elemental mapping, and preclinical in vivo testing, to provide a seamless pipeline for therapeutic, diagnostic and biomarker development. In recognition of the valuable service NU-HTA provides to Northwestern investigators, the University provides over $120,000 in subsidies to the core to support unallowable costs and to keep user rates low. The University also provides supporting operational and fiscal management teams and infrastructure. Specific to this proposal, various units within the University have pledged $1,500 per year for the first three years of the project period to support staff time spent on installation, training, and marketing of the system. Acquisition of the Green Button Go robotic system will spur the development of new therapeutic strategies for cancer, reproductive disorders, neuronal disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.
Effective start/end date9/1/228/31/23


  • Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (1S10OD032367-01)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.