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Robotic cell culture system for stem cell assays

Benjamin T. Schmidt (Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Live Cell Imaging Lab, Stem Cell Research Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
Joseph M. Feduska (Live Cell Imaging Lab, Stem Cell Research Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
Ashley M. Witt (Live Cell Imaging Lab, Stem Cell Research Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
Bridget M. Deasy (Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Live Cell Imaging Lab, Stem Cell Research Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 7 March 2008

504

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the advantages of a robotic time‐lapsed microscopic imaging system for tracking stem cells in in vitro biological assays which measure stem cell activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The unique aspects of the system include robotic movement of stem cell culture flasks which enables selection of a large number of regions of interest for data collection. Numerous locations of a cell culture flask can be explored and selected for time‐lapsed analysis. The system includes an environmentally controlled chamber to maintain experimental conditions including temperature, gas levels, and humidity, such that stem cells can be tracked by visible and epifluorescence imaging over extended periods of time.

Findings

This is an extremely unique system for both individual cell tracking and cell population tracking in real‐time with high‐throughput experimental capability. In comparison to a conventional manual cell culture and assay approach, this system provides stem cell biologists with the ability to quantify numerous and unique temporal changes in stem cell populations, this drastically reduces man‐hours, consumes fewer laboratory resources and provides standardization to biological assays.

Research limitations/implications

Fundamental basic biology questions can be addressed using this approach.

Practical implications

Stem cells are often available only in small numbers – due both to their inherent low frequency in the post‐natal tissue as compared to somatic cells, and their slow growth rates. The unique capabilities of this robotic cell culture system allow for the study of cell populations which are few in number.

Originality/value

The robotic time‐lapsed imaging system is a novel approach to stem cell research.

Keywords

Citation

Schmidt, B.T., Feduska, J.M., Witt, A.M. and Deasy, B.M. (2008), "Robotic cell culture system for stem cell assays", Industrial Robot, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 116-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439910810854601

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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