Universal LIMS based platform for the automated processing of cell-based assays

Florian Schmieder 1 , Christoph Polk 1 , Felix Gottlöber 1 , Patrick Schöps 1 , Frank Sonntag 1 , Ronny Deuse 2 , Aline Jede 2 ,  and Thomas Petzold 2
  • 1 Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS,, Dresden, Germany
  • 2 qualitype GmbH,, Dresden, Germany


Nowadays, cell-based assays are an elementary tool for diagnostics, animal-free substance testing and basic research. Depending on the application, the spectrum ranges from simple static cell cultures in microtiter plates to dynamic co-cultures in complex micro physiological systems (organ-on-a-chip). Depending on the complexity of the assay, numerous working steps have to be performed and the data from different analysis systems have to be processed, combined and documented. A universal platform has been developed for the automated handling of cell-based assays, which combines a laboratory information management system (LIMS) with a laboratory execution system (LES), a universal laboratory automation platform and established laboratory equipment. The LIMS handles the administration of all laboratory-relevant information, the planning, control and monitoring of laboratory processes, as well as the direct and qualified processing of raw data. Using a kidney-on-achip system as an example, the realization of complex cellbased assays for the animal-free characterization of the toxicity of different antibiotics will be demonstrated. In the kidney-on-a-chip system the artificial proximal tubular barrier was formed by seeding human immortalized proximal tubule cells (RPTEC) and human blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOEC) on ThinCert™ membranes. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) was measured daily to evaluate the barrier function of the cellular layers. Fluid handling and TEER measurements were performed using a laboratory automation platform that communicates directly with the LIMS. The LES supports laboratory assistants in executing the manual handling steps of the experiments.

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Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering is an open access journal and closely related to the journal Biomedical Engineering - Biomedizinische Technik. CDBME is a forum for the exchange of knowledge in the fields of biomedical engineering, medical information technology and biotechnology/bioengineering for medicine and addresses engineers, natural scientists, and clinicians working in research, industry, or clinical practice.