Part of a wider pharmacogenetics research facility with a Lims provided by Starlims, integrated with Smartstore using a standard API, a Beckman Coulter liquid handling robot, and a genotyping platform
The University of Liverpool's department of pharmacology and therapeutics, within the school of biomedical sciences, will shortly add an RTS Smartstore to its laboratory.
The highly rated Liverpool team is one of the country's leading departments in the analysis of adverse drug reactions.
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 automated cherry picking capability of the system frees up valuable operator time from what was previously a tedious manual process.
Internal buffers allow subsets to be assembled even when the laboratory is unmanned, ensuring that the selected samples are kept in optimum condition until they are needed.
The vending-mode touch screen interface allows samples to be retrieved, stored and tracked via barcode, at the touch of a button.
The laboratory at Liverpool's department of pharmacology and therapeutics stores thousands of DNA samples that are grouped into collections representing different diseases, such as liver disease or epilepsy.
Highly prized within these collections are the rare samples from people who have experienced an adverse drug reaction.
As an illustration, just one in 10,000 epileptics who takes the drug carbamazepine suffers an adverse reaction, so Liverpool's collection of 80 DNA samples from such individuals is the largest collection in Europe.
Munir Pirmohamed, professor of clinical pharmacology at Liverpool, explained: "The sphere of genomics has changed hugely in the last five years and now we need to harness that new knowledge for the benefit of patients.
"As a result, there are many more large-scale studies than ever before.
"We are currently working on six, but that figure will double in the next year.
"We realised last year that if we were to continue to be able to handle samples safely, retrieve them quickly, store them securely and minimise the potential for error, we would have to automate.
"The Smartstore can not only cope with our projected volumes and throughput comfortably, but thanks to its barcode driven scheduling software, it also will help us ensure we remain within all the requisite ethical and governance frameworks".
RTS Life Science, Starlims, and Beckman Coulter worked closely together to provide the University of Liverpool with a complete solution for the laboratory.
Ana Alfirevic, senior researcher in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at Liverpool, commented: "Record keeping is rightly significant in our research area and Smartstore is well regarded in this arena.
"However, the fact it combines automation with proprietary labware was also an important consideration for us."