High-throughput crystallization robotics
The Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology includes a high-throughput crystallization facility with four integrated components: 1) a Hamilton Star-Let liquid handler; 2) a Mosquito nano-liter drop setter; 3) a Xantus Cubic Lipid handling robot; and 4) a Formulatrix imager with UV fluorescence detector. These robots are located on the 4th floor of the Robinson Research Building in a 400 ft2 temperature-controlled room, currently maintained at 20°C. Bar-coding coordinates the information transfer between robotic instruments, which can be operated remotely through the network. The automated crystallization facility has improved the efficiency of making crystallization screens, increased the speed of initial crystallization trials, decreased the amount of sample need for crystallization, decreased the amount of time required to analyze the crystals, and decreased the rate of false positives. Training on the instruments maintained within the robotic facility is available through individual consultations.