blog: Introducing our travel grant winner

Travel grant winner: Ana Isabel Matos

Last week we announced the first two winners of our travel grant and posterimage_Ana_Isabel_Matos award and promised that we would share their research aims with you. This week, we’re going to speak with Ana Isabel Matos (travel grant recipient).

I was curious to find out more about her research, here is what Ana had to say:

Please tell us which conference you would like to travel to and where/when it will be held?

I am very interested in the 2017 Cancer Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference that will be held in Mount Snow, West Dover, VT, between 18-23 June, 2017.

Please tell us about your research:

Per year, colorectal cancer is responsible for 655,000 deaths throughout the world. Almost 70 % of colorectal cancer patients are diagnosed with the metastatic form of the disease, mainly hepatic metastases, and present a very low 5-years survival rate. The heterogeneity of cancer cells has impaired the successful outcome of several therapeutic approaches, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, requiring effective combinatorial approaches. Immunotherapeutic approaches have shown very positive outcomes in other disseminated malignant diseases. However, an effective strategy against the heterogeneous population of cancer cells requires a combinatory strategy to modulate different cells and mechanisms involved in tumor growth and dissemination. Since the end of last year, I have been involved in a very interesting and interdisciplinary PhD project that aims to develop a combinatorial multivalent nanoplatform for colorectal cancer immunotherapy and drug delivery. Going into detail, this project is focused on the design of two types of polymeric nanoparticles able to carry different active molecules (e.g. tumor associated antigens and immune modulators) and to target and modulate distinct cell populations, mainly dendritic cells and tumor cells within the tumor microenvironment. This highly innovative nanoplatform will lead to a safe multivalent nanomedicine able to modulate tumor microenvironment at different levels by combining the effect of a cytotoxic drug at cancer site with a balanced and multi-targeted immunotherapy, which overall outcome can constitute a real hope for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer disease. During the last year, I had the opportunity to develop and characterize a promising nanosystem. Accordingly, I have learnt how to apply multiple but complementary techniques to achieve a deep characterization of nanoparticle physicochemical properties, including mean diameter, polydispersity index, surface charge, hydrophobicity and stability. In addition, the characterization of the interaction of these delivery systems with antigen presenting cells, namely dendritic cells, was also one of our major goals. As a result, I could extend my expertise in cell culture, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry.

How does your research apply to the topics of discussion at the above mentioned conference? (min 250 words)

The 2017 Cancer Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference, as the title suggests, provides an excellent opportunity for scientists and PhD students that are working in the field of innovative cancer research

What do you hope to learn/gain from attending this conference? (min 250 words)

The Gordon Research Conference provides a great chance for graduate students, post-docs, and early-career scientists with different levels of knowledge and expertise to get involved in a highly-stimulating and gratifying scientific environment. Particularly for PhD students, this huge conference is a unique opportunity to increase the scientific background in cancer nanotechnology through the deep sharing of recent scientific researches during the expected breakthrough talks. This conference also enables PhD students to present and discuss their current and unpublished scientific research with worldwide team leaders of cancer nanotechnology scientific community. This previously referred aspect is perhaps the most important for a PhD student because it certainly will have a direct effect on the progression of the research project by engaging in scientific discussions and exchanging personal opinions with leading scientists. Looking forward to the future, the Gordon Research Conference can be the precursor of informal networks that can lead to a lifetime scientific collaborations and attainments, by meeting face-to-face scientific leaders from all around the world. Moreover, these informal networks with team leaders and their students can probably create the opportunity for the PhD students to travel to another scientific laboratory anywhere in the world and gain experience in a particular area or technique developed and explored in that laboratory. For all these reasons previously mentioned and taking into account my desire to continue to learn and get more experience in cancer nanotechnology area, I view with great self-motivation and enthusiasm the possibility to attend the 2017 Cancer Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference by integrating this travel grant.

Don’t miss our blog next week, where we’ll find out more from Carlos Perez Arques (winner of the poster award) about his research aims. Until then, have a great week!

press release: New partnership for out-of-the-box data analysis for high throughput screening

TTP Labtech partners with Genedata to provide out-of-the-box data analysis for high throughput screening

  • The partnership will integrate Genedata Screener® software with TTP Labtech’s acumen Cellista and mirrorball to improve screening data management
  • The Genedata Ready-to-Run integration will be showcased at booths #1105 and #541 at SLAS 2017, Washington, DC, USA, February 4th-8th 2017

Cambridge, UK, 6th February 2017: TTP Labtech Ltd, a global leader in the design and development of automated instrumentation and consumables for life science applications, has announced that it is partnering with Genedata to provide customers with improved solutions for importing and analysing raw data from their screening instruments.

The partnership will integrate Genedata Screener software with TTP Labtech’s high throughput compound and biologics screening tools, including acumen Cellista and mirrorball®. This will provide customers with out-of-the-box fast and efficient connection between their laboratory tools and the Genedata Screener platform, which will enable improved data sharing and visibility across multiple sites. It will also help improve integration and analysis of screening data from multiple sources.



Genedata Screener software integrated with TTP Labtech’s acumen Cellista and mirrorball

Sarah Payne, product manager, TTP Labtech, commented: “The integration with Genedata Screener streamlines the screening workflow for customers and enables them to analyse and view the results of large screening data sets within one software – all of which drives more rapid and informed decision-making.”

Dr Stephan Heyse, business unit head of Genedata Screener, said, “Genedata partners with leading technology providers to improve operational efficiencies in the drug discovery process. Our Ready-to-Run program provides out-of-the-box integration of the Genedata Screener platform with complex screening instruments, such as those used for cytometry and cellular imaging. This enables researchers to directly benefit from Genedata Screener data harmonization and analysis capabilities for the most complex screening data in a transparent and comparable fashion. We are delighted to partner with TTP Labtech on this integration project.”

blog: When you couldn’t possibly choose the best one!

Travel Grant and Poster Award Winners!

At TTP Labtech, we are committed to aiding in the advancement of scientific discovery. As such, we recently launched two award programs. The first being a £500 travel grant, and the second, a £250 poster award. What an amazing response we had!

We received some really fantastic abstracts from researchers all over the world. Reading through them, I was really impressed with the level of detail some of the applicants went into. There really is a lot of great work happening. Luckily, picking the winner was done by random selection and I didn’t actually have to pick the best one. I don’t think I could have chosen with so many wonderful submissions!

So what were the most commonly mentioned research terms in these submissions?

Here’s a Wordle to help us analyse the response data, as you can see, cells are certainly a hot topic, with cancer studies coming in a close second!

wordleSo who are our lucky winners this time?

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our first two winners and share their submissions with you. Congratulations to Ana Isabel Matos, winner of the travel award, and Carlos Perez Arques, winner of the poster award!

Join us next week when we’ll share their research aims with you!


blog: addressing drug discovery bottlenecks

drug discovery bottlenecks – could these be a thing of the past?

Low-volume pipetting has become standard practice for many high-throughput screening (HTS) techniques but there are often issues with the accuracy, reliability and repeatability of bulk dispensing of reagents and samples into high density plate formats used in HTS.

In fact, a bulk reagent dispenser survey calculated that about 10% of all bulk dispensing time/work was disrupted due to instrument failure or dispensing problems [1]. Of these, tip clogging, high dead volume and soaring maintenance costs were rated the most problematic aspects of such dispensers.

Another common bottleneck is in the transition of assays from development in to HTS, with a common complaint being that different plate density and liquid handling techniques have to be used for the two processes.  This is due to the complex combination of variables that need to be assessed as part of the assay development process, and the limitation of automated liquid handling to carry out such tasks; combined with the need for high density (typically 1,536) well plate formats and a reliance on automation for the HTS process.  This miss-match results in a lot of time and effort being invested in ‘converting’ assays from one process to the other/ to ensure they run reliably in HTS. What if the same technology that provides highly accurate and precise low-volume liquid handling in assay development were to be used in high speed bulk dispensing in HTS?

Well, your dreams have come true! TTP Labtech have recently announced their new dragonfly® discovery liquid handler.  The new platform enables rapid and reliable low volume (200 nL upwards), non-contact dispensing from a positive displacement disposable pipette with 96, 384 & 1,536 well compatibility, to allow assays to be developed directly in high density plate formats. The same platform can also perform assay validation and subsequent HTS, which simplifies and aids in a smooth transition in to a high throughput environment.

dragonfly discovery has 10 channels which can be used independently with any liquid type, irrespective of viscosity. The unique combination of positive displacement, disposable tips and non-contact dispensing ensure dead volumes are minimised, and that issues of  tip clogging and cross-contamination are removed, all of which improve the efficiency and robustness of the screening process.

In addition, new software capabilities and DoE interface support the design, development and ability to run complex assays on a standalone instrumnet; thus enabling a simple, swift, user friendly set-up prior to a run.

In summary, it is now possible to use the same technology at all stages of the drug discovery process, easing assay transition, improving assay robustness, whilst remaining cost effective.

The smooth running of drug discovery processes will be featured at the following events:

At SLAS 2017, Washington, DC, USA (Feb 4-8th) TTP Labtech will be presenting a poster describing a high-throughput phenotypic screening workflow for cytoxicity determination using its comPOUND store to rapidly cherry pick individual compounds, dragonfly® discovery for rapid reagent dispensing into 1,536 well plates, and acumen Cellista for reporting medium content data from multiplexed phenotypic screening assays. In this process, dragonfly discovery rapidly dispenses many liquid types (including cells and beads) into a 1,536 well plate with no cross contamination, and minimal intervention.

[1]Comley, J. Bulk Reagent Dispensers: ubiquitous liquid handling tool for microplate filling. DDW Fall 2010

TTP Labtech will be presenting live demos of dragonfly® discovery at booth #1105 at SLAS 2017 along with presenting at ‘Late Night with LRIG – Rapid-Fire Innovation Session’, 6-8pm, Monday 6th February, and will be hosting a workshop on Tuesday 7th February, room: 143b at 2pm. Space is limited, so reserve your place at the workshop here.

press release: TTP Labtech introduces dragonfly discovery

New liquid handling platform to reduce assay development time and improve assay robustness in high throughput screening… meet dragonfly® discovery!


TTP Labtech Ltd, a global leader in the design and development of automated instrumentation and consumables for life science applications, has announced the commercial premiere of its dragonfly discovery liquid handling technology at SLAS2017, in Washington, DC, USA.

Building on the success of the first dragonfly liquid handling platform, dragonfly crystal, which was designed for crystallographers, TTP Labtech has developed a second generation of the dragonfly technology. The new dragonfly discovery is poised to address the complexities of assay development, and challenges associated with validating and subsequent transferring of those assays into high throughput screening (HTS), which are well known bottle necks in the drug discovery process. This novel, user-friendly, low-volume liquid handling technology significantly reduces assay development time and greatly improves assay robustness in screening. The dragonfly discovery provides scientists with a standard platform whereby they can easily develop complex assays and screen those assays in a robust and cost efficient manner.

The new platform enables rapid and reliable low volume (200 nL upwards) dispensing from a positive displacement disposable pipette (with 4 mL capacity), and 96-, 384- & 1536-well compatibility, to allow assays to be developed directly in high density plate format using a common liquid handling platform. The same platform can also perform assay validation and subsequent HTS, which simplifies the process of assay development and aids a smooth transition in to a high throughput environment. In addition, a new software capability and user interface support the design and development of complex assays.

Joby Jenkins, director – product strategy, TTP Labtech, commented: “In the development of dragonfly discovery, our aim was to redefine reagent dispensing. Positive displacement pipetting is well known to be agnostic of liquid class and offer exceptional reliability, but it has never before been used for non-contact bulk reagent dispensing. This, combined with the fact the tips are disposable, results in an extremely accurate and reliable dispense technology, which is something the industry has been crying out for.”

TTP Labtech will be presenting live demos of dragonfly discovery at booth #1105 at SLAS2017, Washington, DC, USA, 4 Feb – 8 Feb 2017. The company will also be presenting during the ‘Late Night with LRIG – Rapid-Fire Innovation Session’ at the conference, 18:00 – 20:00, Monday, 6 Feb 2017, and will be hosting a workshop on Tuesday, 7 Feb 2017,  room: 143b at 2pm. To reserve your space for the workshop visit here.

12 March - 16 March 2017 Join us at the Society of Toxicology 56th annual meeting ToxExpo!

Venue: Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, USA
Date: 12 March – 16 March 2017
Booth: #2364

Cell health assays and Phenotypic Screening at ToxExpo

We will be showcasing TTP Labtech’s plate-based acumen Cellista, the perfect tool for your phenotypic cellular assays which can be utilised early in the discovery process to identify potential safety and efficacy related issues sooner, thereby reducing overall development costs and improving failure rates.

These assays include:

  • live/dead – using standard dyes such as calcein-AM/PI or TOTO-3/TMRMThese combinations provide a more cost-effective approach to bulk read assays, such as CellTitre–Glo®, and offer the benefit of multiplexing with additional phenotypic assays to gain more high content data
  • apoptosis – annexin V, Caspase-3, nuclear condensation
  • genotox – phophohistone H3

With plate read and analysis times as low as 2 ½  minutes, regardless of plate format, acumen Cellista can be used for primary screening in the determination of off-target drug effects in the earliest phases of drug discovery. Fast scan times and easy to use Cellista software mean it is ideal for multi-user environments such as core screening laboratories.

Cell cycle analysis is a widely employed biological application within drug discovery and biomedical research for investigating potential adverse toxicity effects, or on-target compound efficacy within a number of disease areas such as oncology, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders.

TTP Labtech’s acumen Cellista allows the determination of proliferation (total cell number/well), cytotoxicity (live/dead) and cell cycle analysis in a single assay using adherent cells in-situ, or suspension cells.

Its advantages include:

  • a simple dye-based method to identify DNA content (Hoeschst and Propidium Iodide) that can be enhanced by multiplexing with other markers of interest (e.g. mitotic index).
  • in situ analysis means a workflow that is easier to automate than flow cytometry that preserves cell morphology
  • the ability to discriminate between cytotoxic and cytostatic mechanism of action
  • plate read times from 5 minutes per plate for whole well analysis

acumen Cellista’s high throughput imaging capability and rapid analysis means it can conduct genome-wide screens in a matter of days rather than weeks: see Kittler, R. et al, (2007). Nature Cell Biology 9:1401-1412

Our team can also discuss with you our instruments used for:

  • flexible sample management workflows from ambient to -80°C (comPOUND, arktic, lab2lab)
  • unique low volume liquid handling for NGS, compound screening and MALDI-TOF (mosquito, dragonfly).

Want to find out more? We offer a full range of resources, read our application notes and posters here…

application notes

acumen: multiplex measurement of toxicity indicators

acumen: accurate cytotoxicity and proliferation determination by high-throughput phenotypic screening (white paper)

acumen: detecting kinase phosphorylation

acumen: detecting protein translocation

acumen: high throughput quantification of hepG2 cell colony formation in soft agar

acumen: rapid analysis of cell cycle phases

acumen: speeding up angiogenesis assays


acumen: a practical solution for phenotypic screening of a full compound library

acumen: an integrated solution to provide phenotypic primary and secondary screening of full deck compound libraries

acumen: eliminating the false negatives in ATP-luminescence cell health assays by the use of a phenotypic assay approach

acumen: high-throughput imaging of cellular models

acumen: rapid analysis of 3D cultures in soft agar and on ultra-low attachment plates using a laser scanning imaging system

acumen: rapid profiling of multiple toxicity indicators

Phenotypic screening of a full compound library… A reality or a pipe(line) dream?

>> prefer to watch a video to find out more? Click here

For more information about the Society of Toxicology 56th annual meeting and ToxExpo visit their website here!


blog: New drugs need bold approaches

Turning the screening scenario on its head

The pharmaceutical industry is under immense pressure to find better ways to bring new drugs to market, given the dwindling pipeline and the astronomical cost of late-stage failures. So, is the screening pool from which we select compounds just too small, or not chemically diverse enough?

Screening library subsets is designed to capture all the areas of the chemical space within a company’s full compound library, but by screening a much smaller number of compounds to allow the use of more complex phenotypic assays that provide data closer to the in vivo goal.

“However,” says TTP Labtech’s Dr Paul Wylie, “I believe that this approach is flawed as the subsets are selected on target-based information. Using data from historic target-based screens to select subsets for phenotypic screens runs the risk of missing good quality hits – or selecting poor compounds for next stage interrogation. Just because a compound is in a similar chemical space to another molecule, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will exert the same phenotypic response, in vivo.”

A good example is the catecholamines: dopamine, noradrenalin and adrenaline.  Whilst they only differ by the addition of a single functional group, they exert very different physiological responses (see table 3).

structure function
dopamine  mirrorball_blog_dopamine_Dec16 Inside the brain, dopamine plays important roles in motor control, motivation, cognitive control, reinforcement, and reward, as well as a number of basic lower-level functions including lactation, and nausea.
noradrenaline  mirrorball_blog_noradrenaline_Dec16 Medically it is used in those with severe hypotension. It does this by increasing vascular tone (tension of vascular smooth muscle) through α-adrenergic receptor activation.
adrenaline  mirrorball_blog_adrenaline_Dec16 As a medication it is used for a number of conditions including: anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, and superficial bleeding. Maybe used for asthma when other treatments are not effective. Inhaled epinephrine maybe be used to improve the symptoms of croup.

Table 3.

“In my view,” says Dr Wylie, “it is time to turn the screening scenario on its head. Screening is about excluding the compounds that are not useful; so, instead of screening in a target-based way first, then using a phenotypic response to backup the data, we should screen phenotypically and follow up with target-based identification.”

What would be the requirements to successfully implement phenotypic screening at primary throughputs? “Target-based screening was adopted partly because it was easy to automate, fast, reproducible and relatively inexpensive to run on very large compound sets”, he explains. So, just how far off running a full deck phenotypic screen are we?

We would need:

  1. Automation to run assays in 1536-well plates, to achieve the required throughput. Many liquid handling systems are now able to do this very effectively.
  2. Manageable cell costs/cell numbers. Primary cells and iPS cell lines are more physiologically relevant but incur higher costs. HTS requires the use of around 100 cells per 1536-well plate to make these cost-effective.
  3. Consistent, fast scan and analysis times to fit into a fully automated HTS process. This is important because many HCA instruments have variable read times.
  4. Manageable data files from 2-3 million wells.
  5. Straightforward biology.

Dr Wylie believes that throughput and assay complexity are perceived to be the main barriers to running a full deck phenotypic HTS, but, he asks, “Is that really true?”

  • The biology itself can be limiting, but only in certain projects. Phenotypic screening is robust. “Many phenotypic assays look at quite basic readouts: cell viability (live dead/apoptosis), reporter gene expression, cell cycle, angiogenesis formation. These are simple assays to screen,” he points out.
  • For throughput: “it is true that many typical imaging systems do not fulfill the criteria for a HTS manager to run in a full-deck screen. So it is best not to use a standard microscope-based imaging system”, he concludes.

Laser-scanning imaging cytometers (LSICs), such as acumen Cellista (TTP Labtech), combine object recognition with bulk read speeds (typically under 5 minutes per 1536-well plate). It requires fewer cells (typically 100/well). It also produces very small file sizes, so the IT requirements are the same as for target-based screening. These features mean that LSICs like acumen Cellista are ideally placed to remove the compromises and offer practical high throughput, full deck phenotypic screening.

“The costs of phenotypic primary screens are higher than traditional target-based screening; but it is surely much cheaper than pursuing poor compounds which fail at later stage drug development,” explains Dr Wylie.

“I believe the only barrier to running full deck phenotypic screening today is the willingness and belief to accept it as a key area of drug screening and then to implement it.”

news: Affordable automation for protein crystallographers – the ultimate lab bundle for 2017

Affordable automation for protein crystallographers – the ultimate lab bundle for 2017

Starting in 2017, our lab bundle pack is designed to automate your crystallisation drop setting and optimisation whilst meeting increasingly demanding budgets. With over 300 academic publications in 2 years referencing mosquito, we know how important it is to provide you with productivity and peace of mind in your daily research. Utilising the superior positive displacement technology of TTP Labtech’s mosquito and dragonfly, you can benefit from unrivalled accuracy and repeatability of across a wide range of viscosities, combined with effortless, intuitive software accessible to even the most novice user.

  • 3 protein crystallisation instruments
  • 2 year full warranty
  • 1 unlimited software licences

>>Get your lab bundle

The lab bundle pack includes:

  • mosquito® Crystal (2-way) & dragonfly® (5-head) & MXone
  • consumables pack for mosquito & dragonfly
  • extended 2-year guarantee including a product maintenance visit
  • unlimited software licences

TTP Labtech’s mosquito & dragonfly delivers:

  • unrivalled accuracy and repeatability at nanolitre volume using our unique true-positive displacement technology
  • versatile workflows to miniaturise and automate processes to save time and precious crystals
  • robust and very easy to use, suitable multi-user labs
  • proven track record of research success by 300+ publications in 2 years

>>Get your lab bundle

ask the expert link




blog: Screening methodologies

Counting compounds in or out?

In the search for new drugs, the harvest of low hanging fruit and increased regulatory hurdles have decreased R&D productivity. Many candidates incur enormous financial losses by failing very late in clinical trials. But this failure is due to safety/toxicity concerns as opposed to lack of efficacy. So, are we using the best methods to select our hit compounds?

Target-based high-throughput screening 

In the 1990s, companies turned to target-based primary screening to screen more compounds in a reliable manner. Target-based screening typically uses overexpressing proteins identified as having a key role in the disease area to make a consistent, sensitive model. The assays are robust biochemical ones that are easily automated to run in high throughput, as a pharmaceutical compound library is now around 2-3 million compounds. However, once hit compounds are identified, their effects then need to be checked in a biological system.

Target-based screening has generated many ‘hits’, but there has been a greater failure in the clinic due to poor target validation early on in the drug discovery process. The main cost in drug discovery is not the initial high throughput screen; it is the stages after that.

“People often talk about screening as finding ‘hit’ compounds. Paradoxically, in my opinion, it is about screening out the compounds that are no good – so they aren’t pursued and money is not wasted in the later stages of drug discovery” say Dr Paul Wylie, TTP Labtech’s Head of Applications.

Phenotypic Screening: gaining physiological relevance

There is now a renewed interest in phenotypic screening as a discovery tool. “The real benefit”, says Dr Wylie, “is seeing what each compound actually does to a cell; not just to an isolated protein in a non-physiological environment.”

High Content Screening (HCS) is a standard automated approach to look at phenotypic changes within the cell in response to a compound. Normally, multiple features of each individual cell or organism present are measured. It is this that underpins the approach’s true power.

“HCS enables phenotypic assays that can measure changes within a cell, or movement between cells, or permit the analysis of specific sub-populations of cells in a heterogeneous mix, that would be difficult or impossible to perform with other technologies,” explains Dr Wylie.

“High content assays are amongst the most demanding assays to run on a large scale since they involve using live cells, multiplexing of fluorescent dyes/proteins or probes and have multiple readouts,” he continues.

The vast majority of HCS readers are based on automated microscopy. “Initially, these techniques, whilst powerful, were difficult to use, relatively slow and presented barriers to a mass uptake within pharma” says Dr Wylie. “Over the last 15 years, many of the issues have been addressed and, today, they are used in mainstream R&D for phenotypic screening, which is smaller scale”.

The reasons for not using them in primary screening are:

  • microscope-based high content imaging systems are relatively slow compared to target-based screening methods
  • they are generally incompatible with high density (1536-well) microplates
  • they generate large data sets

“Sophisticated IT storage systems are available to archive these large amounts of data”, says Dr Wylie, “but the IT infrastructure to handle the data effectively and – crucially – retrieval of the data can still be a pain point.”

Another problem is that modern screens have focussed on more physiologically-relevant cell lines, which now include primary cell lines and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). “These cells are ever closer to a true in vivo model, but the numbers normally required to run a phenotypic screen can make the cost prohibitive,” explains Dr Wylie.

Is primary screening afraid of phenotypic assays?

“With the availability of significant improvements in assay reagents, labware and readers, I believe it is now possible to run a cost-effective, robust approach to screening entire compound libraries in a phenotypic manner,” says Dr Wylie.

Laser-scanning imaging cytometers (LSICs), such as acumen Cellista (TTP Labtech), combine object recognition with bulk read speeds (typically under 5 minutes per plate). It requires far fewer cells (typically 100/well). It also produces very small file sizes, so the IT requirements are the same as for target-based screening. This means that LSICs like acumen Cellista are ideally placed to offer practical high throughput, full deck phenotypic screening.

“The costs, it is true, are higher than traditional target-based screening approaches;” states Dr Wylie, “but it is surely a much cheaper way forward than pursuing poor compounds that ultimately fail at later stage drug development. Screening is about excluding the compounds that are not useful, not necessarily about finding the hits.”

blog: Let’s talk crystallography in Asia and Oceania

Let’s talk crystallography in Asia and Oceania.

Hanoi, Vietnam will become ‘The city of crystallography’ from 3 – 7th December, hosting the 14th conference of the Asian Crystallography Association (AsCA 2016) and
TTP Labtech’s protein crystallography open workshop.

This region has a long and distinguished history in the field of crystallography:

  • Bragg’s Law, formulated by the Australian Lawrence Bragg
  • seminal contributions to the crystal engineering of organic molecules (India)
  • coordination polymers (Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and China).

This is highlighted in a recent themed issue of a Royal Society of Chemistry journal celebrating Crystallography in the Asia-Pacific region (CrystEngComm (2014) 16: 6276). This region is also one of the youngest and the fastest growing of the four Regional Associates of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr).

If you are going to AsCA 2016 and would like to join us for a relaxing afternoon of talks by leading crystallographers in both industry and academia and meet other users of
TTP Labtech’s liquid handling instruments, please come along on Saturday 3rd Dec at 11am at Hotel Mövenpick, 83 Lý Thường Kiệt, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội. Following the talks and discussions, you will be able to delight in the tasty traditional Vietnamese cuisine following a Hanoi sightseeing. At this open workshop you will have the chance to learn more about best practices and successful strategies to crystallise proteins using
TTP Labtech’s range of mosquito® and dragonfly® liquid handlers. This is a FREE event, but places are limited so please sign up to avoid disappointment.

The following speakers at the workshop will also be available for informal discussions during the day:

Dr. Andrew Doré “Extra-helical binding site of a Glucagon Receptor antagonist: problems and solutions using the mosquito LCP”

Dr. Andrew Doré is Director of Crystallography at Heptares Therapeutics, UK. His work addresses some of the hurdles associated with the instability of GPCRs and aims to generate small molecules and therapeutic antibodies targeting challenging or previously undruggable GPCRs.

Prof. Kurt Krause “Simplified Method for Influenza Neuraminidase Purification for Structural Studies”

Prof. Kurt Krause is Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases and a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Otago. His group focus on the structural biology of infectious diseases.

Dr. S. Ramaswamy is an Senior Professor at Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, India. His research interests lay in the area of protein-protein interaction networks of translocation pathways and lipid signaling. His general research question is ‘what could be the differences in the modulation and dynamics of protein complexes/ lipids between normal cells and cell under the stress?’

If you would like to find out more about the mosquito range of liquid handlers or dragonfly please contact our experts at



18 Oct - 22 Oct 2016 ASHG 2016 recap

Thanks to everyone who spoke with us at ASHG 2016!

In case you missed it, you can find a full recap!

mosquito liquid handlers for genomics


  • superior accuracy and precision coupled with high speed transfers using true positive displacement pipetting technology
  • reduce sample and reagent requirements to 20 pg or less of nucleic acid and up to 50-fold reduction in reagents
  • no cross-contamination, no carryover with our low-cost disposable pipettes
  • be in control with the simple software interface by easily creating new protocol

application areas

low volume liquid handling with mosquito HTS, HV and X1

  • synthetic & molecular biology: High-throughput, miniaturised reactions for PCR, cloning and DNA assembly with mosquito
  • nucleic acid sequencing: Low cost, low volume library preparation for single cell analysis, including DNAseq, RNAseq and normalisation
  • gene expression profiling: Cost-effective, high-throughput analysis of mRNA with rapid qPCR set-up

Poster title: Automated, low-cost, miniaturized RNA-Seq and DNAseq library preps

>>Get our latest app note here: This application note presents a high-throughput, miniaturised workflow, in which differentiated pancreatic stems cells were studied using single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq), in Dr. Louise Laurent’s lab at University of California, San Diego, USA.

>>Watch our free on-demand tutorial here: Low-volume, automated single cell RNA-seq library preparation

>>Read the latest JALA publication here: Miniaturization Technologies for Efficient Single-Cell Library Preparation for Next-Generation Sequencing

Are you interested in a demo? >>Book it here!

Miss the AGBT17 meeting? Here’s a recap!

Miss the AGBT17 meeting? Here’s a recap!

We were thrilled to present  mosquito® HTSHV and X1 at this year’s Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) General Meeting was held in Florida (13-16 February), USA!

The meeting brought together technology, software, applications, data resources and public policy. It also provided a forum for exchanging information about the latest advances in DNA sequencing technologies, experimental and analytical approaches for genomic studies, and their applications.

mosquito liquid handlers for genomics


  • superior accuracy and precision coupled with high speed transfers using true positive displacement pipetting technology
  • reduce sample and reagent requirements to 20 pg or less of nucleic acid and up to 50-fold reduction in reagents
  • no cross-contamination, no carryover with our low-cost disposable pipettes
  • be in control with the simple software interface by easily creating new protocol

application areas

Low volume liquid handling with mosquito HTS, HV and X1

  • synthetic & molecular biology: High-throughput, miniaturised reactions for PCR, cloning and DNA assembly with mosquito
  • nucleic acid sequencing: Low cost, low volume library preparation for single cell analysis, including DNAseq, RNAseq and normalisation
  • gene expression profiling: Cost-effective, high-throughput analysis of mRNA with rapid qPCR set-up

Poster presentations:

picture of Peter Accurate quantitation and normalisation of genomic DNA for high-throughput DNA library construction
Click here to see the full poster

Dr. Peter Ellis – Senior Staff Scientist
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK)

Miniaturization and automation of CEL-Seq2 and SMARTer-Seq using the mosquito HTS liquid handler
Melanie Adams-Cioaba, TTP Labtech (US office)
Click here to see the full poster
Click here to see the related article

View the latest JALA publication here: Miniaturisation Technologies for Efficient Single-Cell Library Preparation for Next-Generation Sequencing

Are you interested in a demo? >>Book it here!

Our team had a great time hearing about all the latest research going on in the field of genomics and were happy to present the Mavic Pro drone camera to one lucky winner who played our mosquito lucky dip!

AGBT photo1mosquito photophoto of booth prize








poster: high-throughput phenotypic screening workflow for cytotoxicity determination

Full recap of this years SLAS2017!

Thanks to everyone who visited our booth! Here’s our recap of SLAS2017…

Making its premiere at SLAS 2017, dragonfly discovery – set to be a game-changing solution to challenges in assay development and high throughput screening!

>> download the dragonfly discovery brochure here

>> watch the dragonfly discovery video here

If you missed our workshop: Assay development into HTS: redefining reagent dispensing

>> click here to request a copy of the presentation


Melanie Leveridge
Head Screening, Profiling & Mechanistic Biology UK, RD Platform Technology & Science, GSK Medicines Research Centre

Joby Jenkins
Director, Product Strategy, TTP Labtech

Abstract: The complexities of assay development and challenges associated with validating and transferring assays into HTS are well-known bottlenecks in the drug discovery process. Industry experts from GSK and TTP Labtech will discuss how these concerns could be addressed by user-friendly, low volume liquid handling instruments that significantly reduce assay development time and greatly improve assay robustness in screening.  dragonfly discovery gives scientists a common platform whereby they can easily develop complex assays and screen those assays in a robust and cost efficient manner.

We showcased our solutions for sample management, liquid handling and detection instrumentation which are ideally suited for use in:

Target Discovery  – simple answers from complex biology

  • arktic – biological library -80°C automated storage
  • mosquito – low-cost, low-volume NGS library prep
  • acumen Cellista – genome-wide library profiling
  • comPOUND – rapid automated delivery from -20°C storage

Assay development – develop complex assays, faster

  • dragonfly discovery – automated multi-channel assay development and validation for HTS
  • mosquito – low-volume compound addition and dilution
  • acumen Cellista – high-content phenotypic screens
  • mirrorball –no-wash, multi-target immunoassays

High-throughput screening – robust and cost effective screening

  • dragonfly discovery – robust, accurate and reliable HTS dispensing
  • mosquito – simple assay ready plate creation and reformatting
  • acumen Cellista – practical uHTS phenotypic screening
  • mirrorball – multiplexed, no-wash immunoassays
  • comPOUND – rapid automated delivery from -20°C storage

Hit-to-lead – progress with confidence

  • dragonfly discovery –  complex assay setup and screening
  • mosquito – low-volume hit picking and serial dilutions
  • acumen Cellista – multiplexed cell heath, multi-parameter 3D assays
  • mirrorball – multiplexed cell-based hit characterisation
  • comPOUND – compact, high-speed cherry picking -20°C storage

Read our posters that we presented at SLAS2017:




15 May - 17 May 2017 Pharma IQ Compound & Biosample Management Conference

Pharma IQ Compound & Biosample Management Conference

Pre-conference focus day and site visit

Venue: TTP Labtech, Cambridge, UK
Date: 15 May 2017

Compound and Biosample Management Conference

Venue: London, UK
Date: 16 May – 17 May 2017

Collaborate, maximise quality, develop effective data management and capitalise on outsourcing for cost effective compound management and biobanking.

With more and more areas of convergence between compound and biosample management, Pharma IQ, the leader in pharma events, is proudly rolling their longstanding Compound & Sample Management and Global Biobanking events into one! Running from 15-17 May 2017, this conference brings together senior level experts to give their case studies and perspectives in a series of workshops, round tables and presentations.

So what can you look forward to at this year’s event?

  • discover new IT solutions and overcome integration challenges with a case study from Pfizer
  • make important decisions about outsourcing vs. insourcing based on cost analysis with insider tips from Johnson & Johnson
  • acquire new strategies for automatic weighing to save you time and improve quality with expertise from GlaxoSmithKline
  • ensure data is of the highest possible quality with an exclusive case study from Epizyme
  • examine crucial patient data utilisation regulations in the EU with advice from Sanofi

Also back by popular demand is a TTP Labtech site visit on 15 May to our offices in Cambridge. As the workshop hosts, we invite you ‘behind the scenes’ of our headquarters. Participants will have a unique opportunity to see how we are developing innovative technologies for sample management, liquid handlingbiologics, biochemical and phenotypic screening. Attendees can also discuss pressing issues with their peers, tour the site, and ask questions of our specialists about developing next generation solutions.

arktic animation video buttoncomPOUND video button






>> Click here to register

Academic Institutions are eligible for a 50% discount. Please email to secure your pass

For more information about the conference visit the Pharma IQ website:


blog: Get bitten by the bug at AGBT this year

Get bitten by the bug at AGBT this year

The AGBT conference is the place to be this month for both showcasing and discovering the latest research and technologies making a splash in genomics right now.

With TTP Labtech’s foot now firmly in the door of genomics with our mosquito® and dragonfly® liquid handlers and arktic sample management platform, this is an exciting event for us this year.

We will have many examples of how the mosquito and dragonfly ranges are accelerating genomics research at our home for the conference, room 322, floor 3. Activities will include new poster presentations, application notes, information about technology partners and live demos.

Just for fun.…mosquito lucky dip promotion!

Watch mosquito in action and have a flutter yourself! Any visitor to TTP Labtech can pick 3 microtiter plate wells into which mosquito will dispense coloured liquids from a sealed plate. Match two or three of the colours and you win a prize! All attempts will be entered into a final prize draw for a MAVIC PRO drone camera and 15% off your first mosquito. Join the mosquito club!

Please don’t be shy!

We want to meet as many of you as possible and will be working to take over room 322, floor 3, TTP Labtech’s base for the conference, with a relaxed, open house atmosphere. Speak to our experienced team, including applications scientists who have spent the last few years supporting integration of the mosquitos into genomics laboratories.

Finally, you are invited to join the TTP Labtech team for a night of drinks, fine food and good cheer at the conference dinner party on Monday, 14th February 5 – 7:30 pm, room #322 floor 3.


Read on for more information on new material we are presenting at AGBT this year:

Poster presentation by Dr Peter Ellis at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK):

‘Accurate quantitation and normalisation of genomic DNA for high-throughput DNA library construction’

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute receives up to 20,000 DNA samples each month, the majority of which are destined to be processed through its high-throughput sequencing pipelines.  In order to allow the slick passage of samples through these workflows, it is vitally important that the samples are accurately quantified and robustly normalised to target concentration and volume, especially working with highly variable starting material. Dr Ellis describes an accurate, scalable, inexpensive workflow centred around automated pipetting of DNA and reagents using the mosquito in conjunction with fluorescent DNA analysis; resulting in precise, high-throughput quantitation and normalisation.

Poster presentation by Dr Melanie Adams, TTP Labtech, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, Tuesday 14th Feb:

Miniaturization and automation of CEL-Seq2 and SMARTer-Seq using the mosquito HTS liquid handler’

Learn how to miniaturise genomics workflows such as NGS library prep and single cell genomics using validated protocol with SMART-seq and CEL-seq cDNA synthesis, and Nextera XT library prep. We’re presenting two very different two single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) protocols currently in use at the Max Planck Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The setup allows for high-throughput parallel processing of single cells on 384-well plates with a significant reduction in reaction volume and hands on time, while maintaining or improving excellent data quality compared with manual liquid handling steps.

The Max Planck Institute workflow was recently published in Cell as part of a study into polypoid macrophage fate in granulomas ( The MIT are using their new workflow to power through the many scRNA-seq projects run at the BioMicro Center, MIT’s busy integrated core genomics facility.

Hot off the press

Our brand new application note mosquito liquid handlers for high-quality, miniaturised single-cell RNA-seq workflows: A case study from Stanford University School of Medicine’ will be available AGBT. The case study describes a high-throughput, miniaturised workflow using the mosquito X1 and  HTS to study pluripotent cell differentiation during mesoderm development using single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) recently published in Cell ( The publication maps the stepwise gene expression of human embryogenesis, boosting our understanding of human development and opening up new possibilities for regenerative medicine

 TTP Labtech partnership with Advanced Analytical

With this and other examples of the synergy between TTP Labtech’s mosquito and Advanced Analytical’s Fragment Analyser being highlighted, AGBT is the perfect place to discover more about our growing partnership with Advanced Analytics. Talk to our experts and learn more about what’s possible when combining mosquito miniaturisation and automation with Fragment Analyzer high-accuracy quantitation and scalability.

What next?

As well as highlighting the workflows we know that the mosquito and dragonfly can improve, we will also be asking ‘what next?’ for our tireless workhorse technology.

Because we are always looking to find new applications and opportunities to put our technology to work in your laboratories, we invite you to come and find us to see just how easy it is to miniaturise and automate existing genomics workflows to save you time, reagents and money.

Can’t make the show? Don’t miss out! Follow us on Twitter for feeds from the show #agbt17.