OSICS Blot Washer : Automation of the Western Blot Washing Process
Abstract: In today’s life science laboratories it is common to analyzeproteins using a method called the Western Blot process.With the process an image can be obtained and analyzedto determine the presence of specific proteins. As of todaythe process is commonly done by hand. This means thatevery 5-15 minutes a scientist manually changes a liquid.The entire wash process lasts for about 3-5 hours.BioArctic AB presented a mission to attempt to automatethis specific sequence of washing. This meant buildinga machine that could do the following:• Dispense precise amounts of three different liquids.• Provide a constant wiggling motion.• Drain waste liquid.• The entire process has to be in complete darkness.It was also preferred for the machine to be able to wash fourmembranes at once. A research question was expressed asfollows:How much does the band signal intensity of the stainedband differ between an automated and a manual WesternBlot washing cycle?To answer the research question, a demonstrator was built.With a base structure of aluminum and 3d-printed PLAplastics, electronical and mechanical components such asmicrocontrollers, flow sensors, solenoid valves, dc-motorsand stepper motors could be mounted to automate the process.The demonstrator was later run with a real samplewhose result was compared to an equal sample washed manually.The two results were very similar with the automatedwash having a slightly better result. However, since onlyone test was run, the consistency of the result requires furthertesting.
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