“Inkjet Liquid Handling Technology for the Life Sciences”
Peter Wiktor – Founder, Engineering Arts LLC* & Research Professor, Arizona State University
Peter Kahn – Managing Director, Engineering Arts LLC
Biological experiments are becoming increasingly automated, miniaturized and parallelized. A few decades ago biology experiments were done exclusively by hand, one-at-a-time in single test-tubes, petri-dishes, glass-capillaries or flasks. Now, thousands of experiments are routinely automated in parallel on a single microscope slide or other miniature `biochip’. Automated inkjet liquid handling technology is ideally suited to deliver thousands of drops of different chemicals to miniature biological assay devices. Inkjet technology provides precise, sub-nanoliter dispensing at rates of thousands of drops-per-second to virtually any surface without making contact with that surface and without stopping while dispensing. The technology is suitable for large-scale, high-throughput research and commercial applications. We will talk about the history of inkjet technology, the automation required to make it robust and its many applications in the life sciences that have been developed at Engineering Arts, Arizona State University and elsewhere. For example, we helped develop a commercial platform to simultaneously study gene expression of the entire human genome based on 50,000 unique spots of presynthesized DNA molecules dispensed onto a single microscope slide. We are currently collaborating with researchers at Arizona State University to develop and commercialize a 20,000 element protein microarray where the proteins are synthesized, from DNA, on the microarray surface, just before an experiment. In collaboration with Scripps, we are helping to develop a miniaturized high-throughput cell-transfection assay with over 2,500 unique transfection reagents per (microscope slide size) device. We are also working with researchers at Scripps to develop next generation automated sample preparation instruments for molecular microscopy.
*Engineering Arts LLC www.engineeringarts.com headquarters is in Phoenix Arizona.