How the ASSIST PLUS offers flexibility in virology research

· Customer Testimonial

How the ASSIST PLUS offers flexibility in virology research

Professor Miguel Quiñones-Mateu, Webster Family Chair in Viral Pathogenesis and Principal Investigator of the group, explained: “Our lab is conducting research in a range of areas. We’re mainly interested in the properties of drug resistant viruses – such as transmission and pathogenicity – and applying this research to the evaluation of novel drug strategies aiming to eradicate HIV infections.”

Cost-effective and compact

Making the most of space is essential in any laboratory environment, and Miguel’s lab needed an economical system with a small footprint. “We use a series of techniques for our work, including cell culture, PCR and next generation (deep) sequencing. When I took up my position here, I knew I simply couldn’t afford – or have room for – all of the robots and instruments I had used in my previous lab. I heard about INTEGRA from a colleague that I have collaborated with for many years, and he suggested the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot because of its flexibility, small footprint and low cost compared to traditional robots. Instead of needing a number of expensive, task-designated instruments, the ASSIST PLUS could do all of the things I needed, and at a fraction of the cost.”

Two scientists working with the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot from INTEGRA Biosciences
Photo courtesy of University of Otago

A standalone pipette or an integrated system

VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes feature unique motorized tip spacing, enabling rapid parallel transfer of multiple samples between labware of different sizes and formats. These pipettes can be used as handheld devices, or mounted onto the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot for superior reproducibility and error-free pipetting. Professor Quiñones-Mateu continued: “The fact that you can take the VOYAGER pipette and use it separately makes a huge difference because you don’t have a designated robot sat idle for periods of time. Instead, I frequently use the VOYAGER pipettes on their own for liquid transfers, such as RNA samples, from tubes to 96 or 384 well plates – the adjustable tip spacing makes it so easy.”

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility

The combination of the ASSIST PLUS and a VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette offers the flexibility to meet the needs of a number of workflows, allowing users to automatically carry out pipetting tasks according to preprogrammed settings. “I absolutely love the system, it’s so easy to use, and there are so many different things you can do with it. Flexibility is key for me because of the breadth of areas we are studying, and the range of different techniques we are using. Not only are we using the ASSIST PLUS for drug discovery workflows, but for a host of other activities too. For instance, we are conducting metagenomics studies on yellow-eyed penguins – these birds have been dying in New Zealand and we are trying to work out why! We’re taking samples that have been collected from these penguins, and using the platform to automate an entire workflow for isolating DNA and RNA, including a magnetic bead-based purification workflow. It really is so versatile. I’m going from dispensing cells and drugs to automating workflows for penguin samples – it’s just amazing!”