Drug Discovery

Miniaturization of Cellular Assays using the I.DOT Liquid Handler

Combining the increasing throughput requirements and cost pressure are the main drivers for the miniaturization and automation of cellular assays.

Cell-based assays are key experimental tools in basic life science research and drug development workflows enabling researchers to study the cellular mechanisms and effects of drug candidates and diseases. The variety of cellular assays is growing rapidly and ranges from basis assay formats (e.g., cell viability, proliferation, or cytotoxicity) to high-content analysis for phenotypic screenings. 

In both basic research and drug development, the throughput requirements for cellular assays are increasing continuously. This trend is particularly strong in high throughput screening environments where cell-based assays are utilized in early stages to analyze the target-specific activity of compounds plus reduce attrition rates due to cytotoxicity.


Combining the increasing throughput requirements and cost pressure are the main drivers for the miniaturization and automation of cellular assays. Due to the high costs of reagents and consumables, cell-based assays are particularly attractive for miniaturizations.


Switching from the typical 96-well plate format to 384- or 1536-well plates is the first obvious step to miniaturizing cellular assays. However, the potential for miniaturization is limited by the volume range and precision of classical liquid handlers or manual pipettes which typically do not allow the precise dispensing of volumes below one microliter.


With the I.DOT Liquid Handler series, DISPENDIX enables researchers to take the next step in the miniaturization of cell-based assays. Our unique immediate drop-on-demand technology even facilitates highly miniaturized cellular assays using Droplet Microarrays, in addition to the gentle dispensing of cells and Matrigel. Moving from microliter to nanoliter dispensing will boost your throughput and minimize your costs per data point. 


Benefits of miniaturizing cellular assays using the I.DOT:

  • Significantly reduce reagent and consumable costs due to a minimal dispensing volume of 4 nL (I.DOT HT Liquid Handler), a dead volume < 1 µL for H20 (I.DOT Liquid Handler), and non-contact dispensing without pipetting tips.
  • Improve data quality and security by enabling direct dilutions, a superior low volume dispensing accuracy (<5% ≥100 nL and <8% <100 nL), and our unique droplet detection technology detects and counts every droplet released during a dispensing run.
  • Boosted throughput with a high degree of flexibility due to a self-adjusting droplet size of up to 50 nL, a dispensing speed of up to 100 droplets/second, and the compatibility with various labware formats as well as a wide range of liquids (e.g., DMSO, up to 50% glycerol and cell suspensions).
  • Simple and quick implementation of new assays thanks to the intuitive and user-friendly I.DOT software
  •  Automation ready – the I.DOT and I.DOT HT support the SiLA interface and can be easily integrated within automated workstations allowing for a complete walk-away solution by combining the I.DOT with additional devices (e.g., plate readers or the G.PURe non-contact NGS Clean-up Device)

To learn more about our non-contact liquid handlers, book a demo today!

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