As studies in life sciences and biomedicine advance, more sophisticated and automated technology is required to maintain the data throughput required for scientific advancement. Microscopic imaging of biological processes is a fundamental data acquisition and analysis technique that is widely used in biomedical research.
Autonomous cell imaging systems are an important platform that benefits life sciences research in a variety of ways. This article will provide a brief overview of autonomous cell imaging systems and their advantages, with a focus on the WiScan Hermes system.
Hermes 24/7 fully autonomous imaging system integrated into an automated liquid handler at a customer site in The Weizmann Institute of science. Image Credit: IDEA Bio-Medical Ltd.
The advantages of using autonomous cell imaging systems
Autonomous cell imaging systems improve image-based scientific experimentation by providing several advantages. These systems reduce human error, bias, and the time required for human intervention in studies with extended times, major chemical libraries, or both, with minimal intervention.
Scientists are liberated from such repetitive and time-consuming tasks when they can trust the computer-driven framework that acquires and analyses images.
Conversely, researchers can devote their time to experiment planning and data interpretation. Being able to devote themselves to these activities allows them to focus on the big picture of where they want their research studies to go rather than being bogged down in the details.
The autonomous cell imaging platform, WiScan Hermes, incubates, loads, and unloads plates for imaging. This framework also obtains and evaluates high-resolution images using the platform’s automated high-content analysis software.
This autonomous cell imaging system can generate data suitable for presentation using a set of different data visualization tools like plots, graphs, and heat maps, all of which can be quickly exported.
The Hermes system is also portable with a small footprint, can be obtained from multiple directions, and can be conveniently readjusted thanks to a dedicated docking station. A multi-step scientific method that is compressed into a single unit from a single supplier improves laboratory efficiency.
Using autonomous cell imaging systems for protein research in Yeast models: A case study
Autonomous cell imaging systems have a wide range of biomedical applications.
The completely self-contained Hermes imaging platform was created to meet the requirements of the Weizmann Institute molecular genetics Professor. Prof. Gerst, in particular, needed an imaging solution to perform his life science research on mRNA and protein trafficking in yeast cell cultures.
The Hermes system integrated a variety of functions into a single platform, including automated sample handling, high magnification for bright field and fluorescence imaging, and image processing.
The Gerst lab uses a Tecan liquid handler to analyze samples, but they required robotics to enhance the throughput of their imaging technique. IDEA Bio-Medical collaborated with the Gerst lab to develop a small and mobile robotic sample handler. It could be linked up with their Tecan system, rolled away to make room, and then returned without the need for recurring cross-system integration.
Since yeast cells are so small, the Gerst lab needed a mix of high numerical aperture oil immersion objectives and automated scanning of 384 multi-well plates. These lenses provide enhanced spatial resolution and light acquisition. The Hermes gentle LED illumination does not harm the yeast cells.
Researchers created a precision oil immersion media dispensing system to attain the expected autonomy. It applies oil to a target independently, without any need for human involvement.
The robotic arm and oil dispensing system work together to provide new screening capabilities for completely automated workflows. This technology enables the advancement of life science research by delivering high-quality visual data from a single, all-encompassing forum.
Autonomous cell imaging systems with IDEA Bio
IDEA Bio-Medical promotes innovative, artisan science. Researchers believe that scientific technology necessitates pushing existing systems beyond their current, out-of-the-box capabilities.
The WiScan Hermes platform offers users a simple, intuitive, and compact autonomous imaging system with live-cell and time-lapse imaging capabilities.
Expert researchers and software developers are customer-focused and committed to designing new products for clients’ special and unique needs, like the Hermes 24/7 autonomous cell imaging system. The WiScan Hermes system, which was directly inspired by customers, allows for more efficient and high-quality research processes.
With a footprint of less than 1 m2, the setup is saving on valuable lab space. Image Credit: IDEA Bio-Medical Ltd.
Plate loading and unloading for imaging on the Hermes system is done in a fully autonomous fashion via API interface to external 3rd party lab robotics. Image Credit: IDEA Bio-Medical Ltd.
About IDEA Bio-Medical Ltd.
IDEA Bio-Medical is founded in 2007 through a partnership between YEDA (the Weizmann Institute’s commercialization arm) and IDEA Machine Development (an innovation hub).
We specialize in automated imaging systems and image analysis software, offering a broad range of biological applications based on the company’s unique algorithms library. The company is developing novel image-based screening platforms for the pharmaceutical industry and medical centers, dedicated to broadening the scope of personalized medicine.
Our WiScan Hermes system incorporates the most advanced technologies currently available in the machine vision field, integrated with engineering methodologies of high reliability and quality at the level of semi-conductors and digital printing industries, which are the specialty of our mother company, IDEA Machine Development Design and Production Ltd.
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