Enabling Sustainable Laboratory Practices Through Flexible Automation

SLAS 2021 Tutorial – January 26, 2021 | Carleen Klumpp-Thomas, MS, Automation Group Leader, NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the idea that improvements in laboratory sustainability have been desperately needed for some time. The pandemic has brought the need for sustainability to the forefront of our attention as we struggle with supply shortages of many consumables employed in the scientific field, especially those used in high-throughput processes. Advancements in technology through software, collaborative robotics, NCATS’ existing effective optimized cleaning methods, and peripheral devices have allowed the harnessing of flexible automation in order to continuously supply washed pipette tips for reuse. These tips are used on robotic systems or standalone liquid handlers which utilize hundreds of thousands of pipette tips each year for ongoing sample preparation processes. This has enabled enhanced laboratory sustainability while creating further opportunities to increase productivity.