When Dr. Matthias Peter saw his glistening new ROTOR High Density Array robot installed in his laboratory at ETH Zurich, he did not expect to see his head on the body of a three-armed budding cerevisiae cell staring back at him. But…that’s exactly what he got!
With the help from his lab tech Ingrid Stoffel and her colleagues, we surprised our 100th worldwide ROTOR installation, Dr. Peter, with a custom graphic of the budding yeast version of Dr. Peter thinking about a triangle?!
“The triangle is a running joke in our lab for so many years”, Ingrid explains, “Matthias always has the same starting slide showing a triangle for all his presentations. In our group we have three subgroups, so the triangle is like a symbol representing all of us.”
“He had the big smile on his face.”, Ingrid recalled when Dr. Peter first saw the robot. “There was a queue of people trying to have a look!”
“I was surprised and I love it”, said Caroline, another lab member, as she cracked into laughter again, “it shows that we can be scientists, but still have a sense of humour”
The Peter lab are interested in how cell growth and division are regulated in space and time. The robot enables them to systematically identify all components in the protein degradation pathway by using a methodology called SGA (Synthetic Genetic Array).
“It’s at that fantastic starting point to start with the screen. For example, we work on translation at the moment, so I could make a smaller collection of all the ribosomal proteins and test them under various conditions. I mean it just broadens my options massively”, said Caroline, who is spearheading the SGA screens at ETH.
“The user interface is really intuitive as soon as we switched it on, we could easily figure out how to use the robot because it has step-by-step instructions.”
Ingrid, who is also doing the screen with Caroline added, “It’s almost impossible to crash it!”
We believe in our responsibility to science, and are proud to have accelerated research in 100 laboratories, in 26 countries, across 5 continents. We know each robot can easily manipulate 100,000 colonies in an hour. Assuming the average run time on the robot is merely 3 hours per day, these 100 robots alone will collectively help us screen through more than 10 billion colonies in the next year and continue to accelerate the speed with which we cure cancer, discover antibiotics, and engineer ethanol-producing super bacteria!
We have no doubt that this robot will bring more laughter and success to not just Dr Peter’s lab, but also other microbiology labs at ETH, just like the 99 other robots that came before it did.
To all 100 robots out there that help accelerate and unite microbial screening labs around the world, and not to forget our Service & Support Manager Ian who installed the majority of them! Proscht!