Science Webinar Series

Addressing challenges in data collection: The role of automation in complex translational research

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Science  25 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6255, pp. 1567
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6255.1567-c

Summary

For a better and deeper understanding of the biological processes involved in diseases, as well as finding relevant therapeutic approaches, more and more complex methods and applications are being developed and used every day. Drug discovery and translational research is not only found in biopharma R&D laboratories, but also becoming an increasingly larger part of the academic environment. The need for automation in such labs is therefore growing dramatically. However, automation has many advantages beyond simply higher throughput. Robots and other automation tools enable the development of robust and reliable workflows that meet the requirements of new and complex translational research methods. Manual approaches often do not deliver the reproducibility and the accuracy needed for acceptable data quality. In such cases, small-scale automation devices—such as state-of-the-art multimode microplate readers and microplate washers, highly sensitive microarray scanners, and high throughput hybridization stations—can play a critical role in providing the necessary reliability and publication quality data. Using examples from neuroscience and cancer research, this webinar will discuss how small-scale automation in typical academic labs can be used to collect data that cannot be produced by standard manual approaches.