Genome Engineering Process Cut from Months to Days with Robotic Lab Automation

Robotic lab instrument case study for genomics research

The Back Story

To accelerate research, scientists at a major university research center wanted to automate its manual genomics alteration and engineering process. The process required a team of skilled researchers to run lengthy tests while maintaining high levels of accuracy and safety.

The Strategy

Research scientists selected Boston Engineering to design a robotic lab system to automate high-precision genome modification. Boston Engineering developed and built the system with the following capabilities:

  • Performs up to 50 different genome alterations at nearly the same time
  • Runs genome cycling operations asynchronously and establishes a testing “queue” via automated sequencing, timing, and prioritization
  • Automates a seven-phase process using two gantry (x-y-z) robots
  • Ensures precision handling and transfer
  • Handles target cells, reagents, and other testing materials safely
  • Manages complex liquid handling of difficult media via fluidics
  • Provides precise temperature storage of samples via thermoelectric heating and cooling

The Impact

The robotic lab automation system accelerated research exponentially and has achieved results that include:

  • Creating a sample variation in three days that would have taken months or years to complete manually
  • Generating billions of different mutant genomes per day

Advances in genomics can serve as the catalyst for innovation across drug discovery, bioenergy, agriculture, and chemical industries. University researchers continue to use the Boston Engineering laboratory system to gain new insights into genomics that they share with the global scientific community.


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