How to get Effortless NGS Automation

Published:
Optimizing NGS with Automation

Developments in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is quickly changing the landscape of genetic research and diagnostics, and opening new worlds for scientists.

However, it’s highly labor-intensive library preparation can slow down and complicate the workflow. That’s why many labs are looking into NGS automation.

The flowbot ONE can effectively optimize library prep. with a wide range of features. Let’s look at what running an NGS library prep. protocol on flowbot ONE can look like.

The easy-to-use software of the flowbot ONE allows automation of most library prep. protocols available for the many NGS and third-generation sequencing applications without the need of advanced programming skills.

Stefan Boers, Medical Molecular Microbiologist, Leiden University Medical Center
STEP 1: VOLUME TRANSFERS

Accurate volume transfers are made easy with the flowbot ONE software that allows you to set up your programmes without scripting or coding.
With the software features “Bottom Touch” and “Contact Aspiration” you can ensure a low dead volume and the ability to accurately pipette small volumes. This enables you to get maximum value out of liquids like reagents, buffers, sample DNA, and master mixes.
The flowbot ONE software also allows you to easily adjust different liquid classes in its Liquid Class Editor.
To get an ideal environment and minimize contamination, it features both a HEPA filter and UV light.

STEP 2: SAMPLE NORMALIZATION

Fewer strain injuries mean reduced employee downtime, The flowbot ONE software has a template program for normalization and dilutions. The templates allow you to upload a csv fi le with your concentrations or to enter them manually if you prefer.
Either way, no coding or scripting is required, and the flowbot ONE will make the calculations for you.
Your normalization template can be converted and incorporated into a new or existing program. That means that you can have everything you need for your NGS protocol in 1 program.

The hands-on time for processing eight samples was reduced to 25 min for the automated workflow, while the manual workflow takes 125 min to process the same sample size. This significant reduction is due to all the heavy repetitive pipetting performed by the flowbot ONE instead of a laboratory technician, which also minimized the chance of human error.

Stefan Boers, Medical Molecular Microbiologist, Leiden University Medical Center
STEP 3: INDEX ADAPTERS TO SAMPLES

Adding index adapters to samples is simple with the flowbot ONE.
It has a liquid class editor so you can choose your liquid type by the click of a button.
flowbot ONE will ensure that you get maximum value out of your material with the software features Bottom Touch and Contact Aspiration
Both features allow you to transfer very small volumes at high accuracy, thereby utilizing all your index adapters. It can transfer volumes down to 1 μl.

STEP 4: BEAD-BASED PURIFICATION

A magnetic deck for bead-based purification is already integrated into the flowbot ONE software. Simply place it on any of the 12 positions on the deck and it will appear in your program as the flowbot ONE registers its QR code.
Our magnetic deck is optimized for NGS with 5 different plate adapters.
Breakpoints and loops allow easy incubation and washing steps without manual interference, shaping the foundations for a smooth and effortless workflow.
Simply type in your incubation duration and number of repetitions in the drag and drop software.

SAMPLE TRACKING & TRACEABILITY

Having good traceability is key to a smooth workflow. The flowbot ONE has its very own sample scanning solution: the scanID.
scanID offers both 1D and 2D scanning and can scan an entire rack of sample tubes or a SLAS rack in seconds.
After scanning, the racks can be placed in the flowbot® ONE, which now holds all the sample IDs, for further processing.
This solution will eliminate any critical sample misplacement errors once and for all and ensure full traceability and documentation with minimum effort.
scanID is also available without as a stand-alone device.

Sample switching can occur when scanning and pipetting is done manually. Having an inadequate data tracking solution can have very
critical consequences. That’s why we’ve been so happy with the ScanID. As we don’t have to move the samples individually to scan them, we can
trust the results.

Claus Juel Jensen, Chief Physician, Hillerød Hospital

Software Features for NGS Automation

Liquid Level Detection
Liquid Level Detection is especially relevant in any transfer where reagents have different volumes and frees you from making and programming calculations yourself.
Bottom Touch
Bottom Touch is great for pipetting small volumes into dry vessels and eliminates the need to manually calculate their individual depths of tubes and wells.
Contact Aspiration
Contact Aspiration is great for aspirating small volumes from the target tubes and reduces dead-volume significantly.
Mixing in Multiple Heights
This is an effective way of homogenizing the solutions and a great tool for increasing dispensing precision.
Normalization Template
The templates allow you to upload a csv file with your concentrations or to enter them manually. Either way, no coding or scripting is required, and the flowbot ONE will make the calculations for you. Your normalization template can be converted and incorporated into a new or existing program.
Breakpoints & Loops
Breakpoints and loops allow easy incubation and washing steps without manual interference. Simply type in your incubation duration and number of repetitions in the drag and drop software.
Liquid Class Editor
The flowbot ONE holds drag & drop software that allows you to easily adjust different liquid classes if they are not pre-defined in the software.

Would you like to see the flowbot ONE in action?

Book a free online demo and see how it can fit into your workflow.