Beckman Coulter, Inc. integrates laboratory automation platforms that have been used for the culture and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to improve the development of consistent embryoid bodies (EBs), decrease overall costs, and greatly increase throughput and reproducibility.

Processes developed with automated workstations from Beckman Coulter were detailed in the presentation of Directed Differentiation: A Robust, Automated Alternative to the Hanging Drop Method of Stem Cell Differentiation at the Screening Stem Cells Symposium 2011 held in Boston on Sept. 26-27. The presentation offered data demonstrating that such platforms provide more consistent embryoid body formation and enhanced cardiomyocyte formation in murine embryonic stem cells, where approximately 50 percent of the cells were contracting cardiomyocytes after eight days of differentiation.

In this process, the BioRAPTR* non-contact dispenser, which delivers highly accurate and precise volumes across a range of 100 nL - 60 µL without cross-contamination, and the Biomek* FXP Laboratory Automation Workstation were used to dispense embryonic stem cells and transfer embryoid bodies respectively. 

Automated stem cell differentiation replaces the hanging drop method with a plate-based format, provides uniform EB size and shape which impacts differentiation, helps maintain sterility and increases throughput.  Decreased labor and low starting cell-number requirements provide cost savings.

The customized process integrates incubators, cell viability analyzers such as the Beckman Coulter Vi-CELL*, flow cytometers and centrifuges with the Biomek Laboratory Automation Workstation and BioRAPTR, as needed for a specific application.  The platforms can then be housed within an enclosure that provides a sterile environment for cell handling.

 “Integrating automated platforms provides significant benefits to researchers working with stem cells,” said Laura Pajak, Ph.D., marketing manager, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Beckman Coulter, Inc.  “We look forward to the opportunity to discuss stem cell work with scientists, offering them solutions that provide true productivity and cost benefits.”