NIMH’s psychoactive drug screening program will use the platform.
Hamilton Robotics and Hamilton Storage Technologies has provided the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) program at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill with a compound storage and screening system. It provides integration of -20°C compound library storage with an automated liquid-handling platform for screening assays, according to the companies.
The system installed at UNC integrates a Hamilton active sample manager system with two Microlab Star liquid-handling workstations, one with a 96-channel head and the other with 384 channels, using the Hamilton Rack Runner robot for tube transfer. It can store up to 100,000 compounds in 0.5 ml screw cap microtubes. It is the first installed system of its kind, according to the company.
“Many investigators send us their compounds for screening, often one or two at a time,” says Jon Evans, project manager at UNC. “It’s especially important to us that the Hamilton system can locate and pick individual vials or tubes and deliver them to the liquid handler for the automated assays. This new integrated system will significantly increase the throughput, capacity, and accuracy of our lab.” Hamilton reportedly delivered the system within three months of the order, and a factory acceptance was successfully completed immediately prior to delivery.
The system will be leveraged by the NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program at the UNC department of pharmacology and the division of medicinal chemistry. The program provides screening services to academic investigators, focusing on central nervous system receptors.
“This new integrated system will significantly increase the throughput, capacity, and accuracy of our lab,” remarks Jon Evans, project manager at UNC. “It will allow us to do different kinds of assays and will provide complete chain of custody documentation.”
Matt Hamilton, vp for Hamilton Storage Technologies, adds “The NIMH-funded screening center at UNC will be able to reduce assay time requirements by as much as 75 percent and to run assays unattended. This installation is a perfect example of how we can bring our liquid handling workstations and automated storage systems together and integrate them seamlessly.”