S.M.A.R.T. Laboratory for High-Throughput Screening Programs

Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Development and implementation of high-throughput technologies for biomedical research.

Area(s) of Expertise

The S.M.A.R.T. Laboratory provides high-throughput technologies to pursue or complement research strategies concerning translational aspects of science, such as the elucidation of molecular mechanisms that underlie biological events and drug discovery initiatives aimed at identifying innovative molecules or repositioning known therapeutics. We achieve this through an intelligent configuration of first-class robotic instrumentation, ad hoc assembly of a large variety of chemical (>200K) and genome-wide si/miRNA collections and proven personnel expertise in assay development, lab automation and data management. Publication and intellectual property track records and clinical applications of discoveries argue in favour of capabilities and potentials comparable to those biotech enterprises advance.

Research Services

Assay development for high-throughput formats, assay miniaturization, development and validation of screening strategies, robot-assisted automation of assay methods, implementation of cell-free and cell-based screening campaigns, data analysis and management

Sectors of Application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Description of function

Lab automation platform #1  

ThermoFisher

Dimension4 Modular Automation Platform

Combines a 3m conveyor belt with a series of small robotic arms (flip movers), each connected to a specific peripheral (e.g. CO2 incubators, liquid handler, washers, storage units, and multi-mode plate readers for absorbance, luminescence, fluorescence [FI, FP, HTRF]). To be enclosed (early 2016) under negative pressure for L2 biosafety.

Sample storage and retrieval system

Hamilton Robotics ASM compound management system 

Two robotic units (Hamilton Robotics) for -20oC storage of 400,000 samples, retrieval, and automated re-arrangement of library reagents into customized collections. To be fully integrated (January 2016) with a Modular Automation Platform (see below) for versatile automation of experimental procedures.

Lab automation platform # 2

ThermoFisher Modular Automation Platform 

This platform (installation in early 2016) maximizes capacity, throughput and flexibility. Different methods run simultaneously. The platform consists of three liquid handlers of which the Labcyte Echo exploits acoustics technology in order to touchlessly handle sensitive reagents, multimode reader, CO2 tissue culture incubator, microplate pealer/sealer, microplate centrifuge, refrigerated incubator, bulk dispensers, and barcode readers. Under negative pressure for L2 biosafety. 

Ancillary components of lab automation platforms

Biomek FX (Beckman Coulter)

A liquid handler equipped with 96- or 384-channel disposable-tip pipetting head, shaking, heating/cooling and vacuum filtration options, span-8 (independent eight-channel pipettor) and adaptability to 96- or 384-pin tool (V&P Scientific) for nanolitre dispensing of compound libraries; connected to a carousel housing 40-tip boxes via a vertical robot (VAL, Thermo Electron Corporation).

 

ELx405™ Magna Washer (BioTek)

For 96-well plate applications that require magnetic-bead technology.

 

Multidrop™ 384 (Thermo Electron Corporation)

For rapid bulk reagent dispensing, in the range of 50 µL to 200 µL, into 96- or 384-well plates.

 

PHERAstar Reader (BMG LABTECH)

A sensitive reader capable of performing non-isotopic measurements, such as absorbance, rluorescence, time-resolved fluorescence, fluorescence polarization, luminescence and AlphaScreen.™

 

FLUOstar Optima Reader (BMG LABTECH)

A multi-functional plate reader that can be used to detect absorbance, fluorescence, time-resolved fluorescence and luminescence; outfitted with two on-board injectors for fast kinetic studies.

 

Cytomat Microplate Hotel (Thermo Electron Corporation)

For room temperature storage of up to 180 microplates.

 

StoreX 40 (LiCONiC Instruments)

For microplate incubations in the 4°C to 20°C temperature range, with shaking option, humidity and CO2 levels control.

 

Cytomat™ 6000 (Thermo Electron Corporation)

A CO2 incubator with up to 189-microplate capacity for cell-based methodologies.

 

Delidding Station (Thermo Electron Corporation)

To remove or add microplate lids.

 

Barcode reader (Thermo Electron Corporation)

To read 1-D bar codes on the side of microplates.

 

Magnetic Hotel (Thermo Electron Corporation)

For the application of bead-based technologies; eight-plate capacity.

Stand-alone Instrumentation

#1 Biomek FX (Beckman Coulter)

#2 Biomek FX (Beckman Coulter)

Equipped with either a 96- or a 384-channel disposable-tip pipetting head; shaking, heating/cooling and vacuum filtration options; stacker carousel for extra supply and storage of plates or tip boxes; and span-8 device for specific (independent) well pipetting.

 

Cytation 3 (Bio-Tek)

Cell imaging multi-mode microplate reader that combines automated digital microscopy and conventional microplate detection. 

 

Labcyte Echo

Liquid handler that operates by acoustics technology to touchlessly dispense minimal volumes (down to 2.5 nL). Employed to handle sensitive reagents (e.g. siRNA and miRNA) for plate reformatting, hit picking, and custom plate productions.

 

Bluewasher (BlueCatBio) 

Stand-alone microplate washer based on innovative technology, which uses centrifugation instead of aspiration to remove liquids from all plate formats. It achieves near-zero residual volume and operates contact-free, thus preventing needles from  scratching and disturbing cell lawns.  Ideal for media changes during cell-based assays, especially when cells are sensitive to multiple washing steps. 

 

460CyBi®-Print vario labelling system

(Cy-Bio)

Barcode printer equipped with stackers for automated labelling of macroplates.

 

  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research