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Currently, the paradigm of traditional Chinese medicine research is undergoing a transition. From the past research oriented towards discovering single targets, single mechanisms, and monomeric drugs, it is gradually developing towards establishing a research model and methodological system that conforms to the laws of traditional Chinese medicine. However, establishing a modern research method for Chinese medicine is facing many challenges.

Automation systems in laboratories have brought great significance to research

Research and development of traditional Chinese medicine shares similarities with life sciences and pharmaceutical research in that they are highly dependent on interdisciplinary applications of chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and other basic disciplines. At the same time, traditional Chinese medicine components are more complex and require more analysis and screening work. As researchers and students, we need to spend a lot of time exploring experimental conditions. The precision and repeatability of manual experiments have always been a pain point for us. We have previously attempted to automate some experiments, such as using automated workstations and nucleic acid extractors, but these instruments are single-process high-throughput and still require manual intervention between them, making it impossible to automate the entire process.

By collaborating with laboratory automation systems and using lab automation equipment, the field of intelligent laboratory automation has taken a critical first step. The manufacturer has developed a highly adaptable intelligent automation integration platform, helping us to integrate personalized full-process experimental systems. Based on this platform, some routine experimental operations have already been fully automated, saving us time and allowing us to spend more effort on consulting literature and considering scientific questions.

The laboratory automation system uses a self-developed laboratory automation platform and intelligent mechanical arm system to integrate the high-throughput workstation, ELISA, and microplate washer in the experimental center into an automated experimental platform, realizing the full-process automation from a single process to systematic experiments. Currently, it can complete many automated experiments, such as component allocation, nucleic acid extraction, ELISA, multiple-factor detection, and drug screening based on ex vivo targets.

Compared with manual mode, what are the specific advantages of the laboratory automation system?

  • The laboratory automation system strictly follows the experimental plan and process setting, reducing errors that may be caused by personnel in large-scale repetitive operations. At the same time, the experimental process can be accurately traced, the reliability of the experimental results is higher, and the utilization of manpower, material resources, and time is improved. By leveraging the advantages of automated laboratory systems, laboratories can improve overall efficiency, reduce costs, and improve quality standards, ultimately delivering better patient care and outcomes.

  • The laboratory automation system has more precise pipetting accuracy and time control than manual mode. Through actual measurement of ELISA experiments, PCR experiments, BCA curve measurements, etc., the CV values of experimental results are significantly lower than manual operations.

The above two points establish the advantages of the laboratory automation system in terms of experimental accuracy and repeatability.

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