Automated systems for cell transfection

(a) Image of RTCM created using the Nanoprint MicroArray System located at MCN. (b) Close-up of Array Spots. Protein vectors are tagged with GFP and appear green. HeLa Cell Nuclei are labelled with DAPI and appear blue. DNA is cy3 labelled and appears red.

March 2012

Research areas that involve time consuming and repetitive processes may benefit by adopting new experimentation methods, which involve efficient screening. Incorporating nanosystems into these experiments can also provide useful insight into the interaction of nanomaterials within the biological environment, gene expression, targeted cell delivery and encapsulation.

Michael Nastasie, a researcher from Monash University is working in collaboration with MCN’s Varsha Lal to design a novel process capable of conducting a series of simultaneous nano-experiments within an automated array system. This will allow them to observe the transfection of numerous known DNA constructs into specific mammalian cell populations.

Transfection is the process of deliberately introducing nucleic acids into cells. Using the MCN’s MicroArray system, the team can perform transfection experiments simultaneously using the high throughput capabilities of the microarray system. According to Michael, “the microarray system available at the MCN will be crucial in the ability to simultaneously test numerous different transfection solutions, on a large variety of surfaces, under controlled humidified conditions, with minimal user interaction.” Since an array can contain tens of thousands of probes, the automation and concurrent nature accomplished by this MicroArray system drastically improves the efficiency of experimentation and accuracy of results and gives researchers the power to test large quantities of cells in concurrent experiments.