Category: Automation and High-Throughput Technologies

1272-C - Automation for analysis and handling of cell clusters, tumor spheres and organoid bodies.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Large particle flow cytometers from Union Biometrica provide automation for the analysis and dispensing of cell clusters. Cells growing in clusters communicate with each other and behave differently than cells grown as monolayers or in suspension. Research using stem cell clusters, organoids, tumor spheres and other types of 3D cultures are important biological systems for the discovery of signals responsible for normal development as well as the abnormal disease state of solid tumors. There is enormous interest in studying how cells grow, divide and differentiate in a more natural context provided by these 3D cell culture models. Many cell types will naturally form cell clusters when given the opportunity. Using this research approach allows for cell-cell interactions to occur and provides biological insights otherwise missed when studying flat sheets of cells growing on plastic surfaces or as cells grow in isolation. Furthermore, there are many methods that enable the introduction of genes for fluorescent proteins expressed from promoters of interest. Researchers can use these to track different cell types and identify when a cell or group of cells has transitioned to a different state. In a collaborative effort we have tested cell clusters produced at Corning Life Sciences (Kennebunk, ME) using their T-25 and T-75 microcavity flasks. We ran various cell clusters on the BioSorterTM flow cytometer and show that the BioSorter instrument can analyze monoculture cell clusters from several different cell types and can dispense these into wells of multiwell plates. We analyzed HT-29/GFP-expressing cells, HEK293/RFP-expressing cells, HCT-116 cells and iPSC. Clusters can be distinguished by their size, optical density, or fluorescence levels. Cell clusters were dispensed individually into various types of 96-well and 384-well plates and microscope observations showed that no damage occurred to the dispensed cell clusters. Our data shows that the BioSorter instrument provides automation for unbiased analysis, handling of large numbers of cell clusters, and dispensing of these sample types in a multiwell plate format. The BioSorter is valuable technology for increased throughput of spheroids cultured in bulk.

Rock Pulak

Director Life Sciences
Union Biometrica, Inc.
Holliston, MA

Rock Pulak received his PhD. at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in the Genetics Department, followed by a postdoc at MIT at the Center for Cancer Research. He joined a startup biopharmaceutical company that used phenotypic screening for early drug discovery. He then became interested in developing tools for high throughput screening with model organisms and cellular assays. Rock currently works as a Senior Director (Technology Development) at Union Biometrica, Inc.