In Sweden, the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at Uppsala University features a setup of 5 pipetting robots in integration with robot arms and digital fluorescent microscopes.
The pipetting robots in question are flowbot® ONEs, and they are the stars of Uppsala University’s course “Laboratory Automation in Life Sciences”.
We visited to see it in action and have a chat about the importance of teaching lab automation.
The scientists of tomorrow
The students are already busy programming flowbot® ONE to automate pipetting in their cell based projects.
“The flowbot® ONE is one of the main parts of the course because we know that liquid handling is key for lab automation. The students learn to translate a manual protocol into an automated one, which gives them a deeper understanding of how the robot and software work,” says Assoc. Prof. Jordi Carreras Puigvert and explains that they are having a lot of fun and learning it quickly.
“The first time we used it, we were amazed to see how the robot could do everything that we could but more effectively. Sample dilution and normalization make our experiments easier because flowbot® ONE does a lot of the calculations on its own,” says David Devenfors, a student at the course.
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Want to know if flowbot® ONE could be a solution for your lab, book a demo and find out.
It is essential to teach students about the labs of the future, on top of the more traditional laboratory work. This realization was what made the University of Uppsala create this pioneering course.
“We think that automation is everywhere in life sciences so it’s very important to teach students these skills. Regardless of where they go in their career, this is a skill that they will always be able to use. The first time they saw the flowbot® ONE software, they immediately knew what to do. It has been very easy to get started, which helped the students develop complex protocols later on” explains Assoc. Prof. Jordi Carreras Puigvert.
Exploring the lab of the future
Uppsala University chose flowbot® ONE because the students can learn both easy and complex tasks. This is key because they wanted the course to gradually evolve and make sure the students obtained a good basic knowledge before moving onto more difficult levels.
“The flowbot® ONE is a great teaching tool because it is an easy-to-use, precise instrument with unique features such as liquid level detection. It is also a high-quality and robust instrument that students feel comfortable with and that can handle quite a lot,” says Assoc. Prof. Jordi Carreras Puigvert.
Uppsala University has also made a very unique integration to give the students experience with fully automated workflows. The integration consists of flowbot® ONE, a robot arm that places and removes multi well plates to and from the flowbot® ONE, and a digital microscope that performs automated imaging.
It works flawlessly in collaboration with a robot arm, partly because it’s so spacious which enables the instruments to work in parallel without colliding. Its super high precision also helps us with the millimeter-scale moves that are required,” explains Rikard Nyström, MSc lecturer at Uppsala University, who has designed and created the integration.
David Devenfors is among the students who are super excited to learn how end-to-end automation works and prepares for working in the lab of the future.
“I think automation is the future and this is a step towards that for me. It’s been amazing to learn these skills and I really hope that I can use them in my career.”
As this course draws to a close, Uppsala University will continue to pioneer the education of tomorrow’s scientists with the flowbot® ONE.