Jonathan Wingfield, AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK

At SLAS 2015 (Washington) we received the Innovation Award for our work describing the early development of an acoustic loading system for a mass spectrometer to create a novel label-free detection platform for lead discovery and other laboratory applications. The novel acoustic source is capable of generating a mist of droplets in the 50-100fL range, with the droplets being ionized as they pass through a charged field and fired directly into the mass detector. This direct injection approach enables a sampling rate of 3 wells per second (10,000 samples per hour), fast enough to support high throughput screening (HTS). For biochemical targets this offers the ability to perform hit discovery assays with the direct measurement of substrate to product conversion.

Kerstin Thurow, Center for Life Science Automation, Uni Rostock

Automation systems with applied robotics have already been established in industrial applications for many years. In the field of life sciences, a comparable high level of automation can be found in the areas of bio screening as well as high-throughput screening. Strong deficits still exist in the development of flexible and universal fully automated systems in the field of analytical measurement. Reasons are the heterogeneous processes with complex structures, which include sample preparation and transport, analytical measurements using complex sensor systems as well as suitable data analysis and evaluation.

Kerstin Danker, Evotec, Hamburg

Since almost five years Evotec offers High Throughput Mass Spectrometry (HTMS) screening services for label-free hit identification programs. In this presentation we present how the Agilent RapidFireTM (RF) technology has been fully integrated into Evotec’s Lead Discovery Platform and give examples for the analysis of small and polar molecules in a much more efficient way in comparison to traditional HPLC- or UPLC-coupled mass spectrometry approaches. In this context we also outline the accessibility of biological assay systems which are not commonly investigated by other label-free detection methods.

Elena Dragicevic, Nanion Technologies

Patch clamp remains the gold standard for studying ion channel function. However, although the information obtained is information-rich, conventional patch clamp is immensely technically demanding and offers notoriously low throughput. Attempts to automate the technique began in the late 1990’s, with the most successful method being to replace the glass pipette with a planar substrate. Although these methods have done much to improve ease-of-use and increase throughput, the available automated patch clamp (APC) instruments have failed to meet either the throughput and/or quality required for high throughput screening (HTS), until now.

Mario Bott, IPA Fraunhofer Stuttgart

Liquid handling is the key process in virtual all life science procedures and the automation of liquid transfer represents a major challenge. In the light of increased assay throughputs and savings in costs and reagents, miniaturized process layouts have gained increasing importance. We will present the flexible and cost effective application of fluid handling in the nanoliter range in the field of biomarker screening.