The word “automation” may conjure up images of the future, complete with robot butlers and flying cars. The reality is that automation is here now, and it can change your everyday life significantly. In the lab, automated instruments have already impacted how researchers perform common techniques like PCR, nucleic acid purification, and Next Generation Sequencing. Today, new systems that automate the greatest hits of epigenetics research such ChIP, MeDIP, MBD capture or NGS sample prep are hitting the labs. Early adopters aren’t looking back.
Get Your Epigenetics Automation On
Ok, sure -- if you haven’t run a chromatin immunoprecipitation or methylated DNA immunoprecipitation assay for ages, an automated system with all the bells and whistles might not be your thing. For many scientists in the epigenetics game who are incorporating Next Generation Sequencing as their epigenome analysis method of choice, however, automation could mean the difference between getting the scoop and being the one who gets scooped.
Diagenode Product Manager, Ignacio Mazon, who provides expert support for the first epigenetics automation platforms on the market (IP-Star and IP-Star Compact), gives 5 great reasons for why you may want to hop on the epigenetics automation bandwagon.
Check them out:
- You need data faster: Automation means that up to 16 assays can be run simultaneously and that larger projects can be handled with ease (32 samples per day, or more than 5,000 samples per year). Whether your lab runs a single epigenetics assay repeatedly, or you need to handle multiple assays, automation will expand your lab’s capabilities to get the job done quickly. With epigenetics automation, you can now spend more time with your friends.
- There aren’t enough hours in a day: Even the most dedicated post-docs occasionally need food, rest breaks. It is a different story with automated instruments. Aside from a few minutes of some monthly upkeep, an automated instrument can be run non-stop. According to Mazon, “All it takes is about half an hour of hands on time, and then you can walk away to work on something else, instead of spending several hours at the bench.” That’s extra time that can be applied to critical lab activities like cracking those higher levels in Angry Birds.
- Variability is the enemy: We all pipet a little differently, and since many experimental procedures like ChIP and MeDIP require long, multi-step protocols, the risk of introducing variability is very high. Automated instrumentation lets you standardize your assays so that you can get consistent results from person to person, day to day, and lab to lab. “Users will also avoid issues such as cross-contamination, sample carryover, and false positives, which really pays off when you’re doing something as sensitive as sequencing later on,” added Mazon.
- Even a caveman can use it: Well, maybe not a caveman…but hung-over undergrads desk-bound PI’s can certainly master it. The IP-Star Compact utilizes a slick touch screen interface to guide users every step of the way, so making protocol adjustments is as easy as creating a playlist in iTunes. Once the settings are just right, press “Start”, sit back, and enjoy the show.
- Options are a good thing: The IP-Star Compact System has numerous uses; it’s like an epigenetic Swiss Army Knife. It will easily switch between chromatin experiments and DNA methylation assays, adjust experimental conditions, try different protocol parameters, and even experiment with different reagents. Keep in mind that the assays must be magnetic bead-based.
Diagenode automated systems are open platforms that provide users the flexibility to optimize conditions if needed.
The word "automation" may conjure up images of the future, complete with robot butlers and flying cars. The reality is that automation is here now, and it can change your everyday life significantly. In the lab, automated instruments have already impacted how researchers perform common techniques like PCR, nucleic acid purification, and Next Generation Sequencing.