Increasing Throughput in Sustainable Chemical Research
Genomatica, Inc., uses systems-based strain engineering to develop fermentation organisms, key components of their integrated processes to produce intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks. As such, these sustainable chemicals are direct drop-in replacements for the identical chemicals produced from conventional petroleum-based feedstocks but with a reduced environmental footprint. Brian Kinley has been with Genomatica for about 1.5 years, and runs high throughput screening (HTS) assays for several departments as a Senior Research Associate. Screening methods include individual enzyme assays and end-point assays to determine product titers. Ultimately, Brian and Genomatica are looking for organisms that best display high productivity, enzyme efficiency and other traits optimal for their proprietary biotechnology platform.
The lab’s assays previously used a mixture of manual and semi-automated methods, requiring focused user intervention, and resulting in low throughput. In order to increase throughput and free Brian to work on other tasks, an automated system was needed. Brian, his lab manager and department director worked with an outside company to build an automated system specific to their needs.
Brian was already using some of BioTek’s microplate technologies, and the decision was made to use BioTek’s products in the automated system, thus standardizing on one software platform and also streamlining integration and service. This included the BioStack™ Microplate Stacker, PowerWave™ HT Microplate Spectrophotometer, and EL406™ Combination Washer Dispenser.
In particular, Brian notes that the EL406 changed their assay process, “We were able to achieve three goals with the EL406: greater accuracy in plate volume, elimination of cross contamination, and greater integration with our automation platform.” He adds that no other similar instruments were seriously considered because none matched the EL406’s capabilities.
In addition to the automated system, Genomatica has several BioTek microplate readers, a second BioStack and MicroFill™ Microplate Dispenser for other long-term assays and quick HTS assays. Brian also notes that BioTek’s support team has been responsive and helpful whenever he’s needed them.
Brian sums up his BioTek experience, saying, "The BioTek instruments we use at Genomatica give us greater accuracy and allow us to increase throughput by integrating various BioTek instruments into larger automation platforms or by using BioStack microplate stackers. Additionally, the robustness and reliability of the instruments give us true walk away solutions in our HTS screening."
Brian Kinley, Senior Research Associate
To learn more about Genomatica, Inc., visit their web site.
Thanks to Brian Kinley at Genomatica for sharing his BioTek experience.