The Broad Institute is a research collaboration, involving faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard academic and medical communities
RTS LIFE Science's Smartstore has been ordered by the prestigious Broad Institute in the USA.
Smartstore is said to be the only small, automated store to provide storage for vials, plates and tubes at temperatures from ambient to -20C.
The Institute seeks to empower creative scientists to construct new powerful tools for genomic medicine making them accessible to the global scientific community, as well as applying them itself, to aid the understanding and treatment of disease.
Scott Mahan, laboratory manager of the biological samples platform at the Broad Institute, explained: "It is our long term goal to receive, register, and pass through quality control procedures, every single sample coming into the Broad.
"Currently, while building up our platform, we are only working with a fraction of the samples being used in studies at the Broad (~80,000 so far).
"We estimate the final number to be much, much greater than this".
"Our Smartstore, which can hold ~300,000 samples, will be used for active projects, leaving samples not in active use to be archived in our other freezers".
According to platform director,Kristin Ardlie: "We seek to apply industrial methods and standards to a research environment".
She added: "It was the combination of the Smartstore's automated cherry picking, its capacity, and its sample tracking capabilities that were the critical factors in the selection of the system.
"As our collection grows, the Smartstore will be able to grow with us, as we will be able to simply add additional units.
"Since we are in an academic environment, we will always need to accommodate legacy samples in multiple formats.
"Thankfully, the Smartstore is able to cope with multiple different container types.
"Since the magnitude of research projects undertaken at the Broad is frequently of the order of several thousand samples at a time, accurate cherry-picking was already becoming a bottleneck for us.
"With the installation of the Smartstore, I am confident we can focus on other challenges instead".
Cherry picking subsets of microtubes is fully automated by the Smartstore.
An integrated walkaway unit provides external buffer storage and presents system operators with a convenient, cassette-based interface for loading and unloading samples.
The vending mode touch screen interface allows samples to be retrieved, stored and tracked via barcode, at the touch of a button.