Automation in the lab, particularly when it comes to sensitive processes like automated RNA isolation, can dramatically decrease costs and improve consistency in life sciences. Unfortunately, if you are a small lab with limited funding, getting your hands on a KingFisher or Hamilton may be out of budget. Life Magnetics has optimized the Opentrons Liquid Handler for RNA extraction. In just 6,000 extractions the system pays for itself if you’re switching from manual extractions with spin columns.
For RNA or DNA extraction, you may have heard of the Hamilton or the KingFisher automated systems. If you have, you know the KingFisher can run over $100,000 and the Hamilton has a modest price of over $250,000. While these systems come equipped with advanced features like liquid level sensing that helps make sure all of the viscous fluids are removed, they also use old programming languages and have limited customizability.
The Opentrons Liquid Handler starts at only $5,000 and is written in Python. This automated system allows for complete customization of your protocols using a modern programming language that your students are more likely to know or are learning in their programming classes. At such a great price point you would think this system wouldn’t deliver results as good as other system. However, with the motion controls being completely customizable, Life Magnetics found that they can optimize the automated motion controls to account for any possible variances in the isolation process to deliver results on par or better than the most expensive systems.
Life Magnetics has been working with Opentrons and has developed an automated isolation protocol that lyses and fully extracts up to 24 total samples in under 6 hours. This system has a total cost of $12,000 and Life Magnetics RNA Isolation kits are $4/reaction or less. With many kits now costing >$6/reaction, your automated system is paying for itself with 6,000 extractions.
All-in-all, the Opentrons Liquid Handler is able to provide full automation with RIN values between 9.5-10 while recovering over 80% of the RNA. Life Magnetics, which stands behind Opentrons, provides customers with an automated system that is affordable, efficient, and always evolving. By partnering with Opentrons, Life Magnetics will open many doors for small labs and Universities on a budget so they can compete with others by having their own automated extraction system.
Kevin graduated from the University of Michigan where he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Chemistry with a focus on Semiconductor Surface Chemistry. In 2015, Kevin started Life Magnetics, Inc. with Saravana Murthy. Kevin developed the manufacturing method used to create Life Magnetics’ products and currently oversees manufacturing and business development. Kevin also has five peer-reviewed publications, and seven issued patents.