Universiteit Leiden

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Metabolomics and Analytics Centre

Enabling Analytical Technology

Within the MAC our Enabling Analytical Technology team is working to innovate all steps of analytical workflows. This includes developing novel sample preparation modules, creative sample handling methods, automated workflows, and more. Several projects implement the microfluidic principle of segmented flow, leveraging precise volume control, lack of sample dilution, and ease of automation for developing our streamlined workflows.

Technology development

Sample preparation is a key aspect of most bioanalytical workflows, and the same is true for metabolomics. As we strive to increase throughput and efficiency, improvements to traditional sample preparation methods are needed. We are currently developing modules for a hanging droplet evaporator, electroextraction of various metabolite classes, and solid phase extraction via monolithic structures and magnetic beads.

Lab automation

Our lab is a leader in automation, with excellent liquid handling platforms from manufacturers including Tecan, CTC PAL, Agilent, and others. We use these platforms not only to automate routine steps like aliquoting, but also to develop customized protocols which can interface with segmented flow-mass spectrometry, for example. 

The focal point of automation innovation is our PAA workcell, pictured below.  This unique infrastructure contains a dozen instruments including liquid handlers, plate sealers, and centrifuges. All of these are accessed via autonomous mobile robot (AMR) which can navigate the lab floor, bringing the sample trays and plates from workcell to MS for a fully automated workflow. 

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