4 Ways an Engineering Approach Improved Biology in 2019 that Could Help You in 2020

At Synthace, we have highlighted the benefits of taking a statistical, engineering approach to biological experiments for years.

Our cloud-based platform Antha enables scientists to upload, plan and execute multifactorial experimental designs, quickly and flexibly. Facilitating the easy transfer of protocols between different lab robots, improving the reproducibility and robustness of biological experiments.

In 2019, we used Antha to design, execute and plan multifactorial optimisations of molecular biology protocols and assays to improve their robustness.

Taking a computer-aided approach to our biology significantly improved the efficiency and reproducibility of results afforded by the optimised protocols. We also saw significant reductions in the amount of time investment needed by the scientist to perform the experiments.

Read the case studies below to find out how Antha improved Golden Gate construct assembly, qPCR, Bioprocessing unit operations and an enzyme assay.

1. Computer-aided optimisation of golden gate construct assembly

  •  Antha improved robustness of BsaI DNA-assembly with >95% correct constructs from 3-7 part assemblies

  • The optimised experimental workflow was initially programmed for a Gilson PIPETMAX® and easily transferred to a Hamilton Star achieving comparable robustness

  • The automated Antha approach reduced time spent per experiment from 29.5 hours to 8.5 hours, a 21 hour time saving compared to manual performance

  • This equates to an overall 74% reduction in experimental, planning, design and execution time 

  • Meaning large efficiency savings in FTE time and a 22% reduction in tip usage

2.Automated qPCR

  • Antha increased assay robustness and sensitivity, by significantly lowering the coefficient of variance across technical replicates for two independent primer pairs

  • Reactions prepared by Antha were contamination free in comparison to manual runs, which showed levels of contamination

  • Antha doubled experimentalist walkaway time

3. Optimising bioprocessing informatics

  • Timeframe from data generation to high value bioprocess insight reduced from weeks to minutes

  • Antha enabled near real time quantification of functional viral titre, cell density and viability, and process metabolites using Raman spectroscopy, and metabolic activity using refractive index

  • PAT in conjunction with Antha facilitates the rapid optimisation and refinement of process parameters

4. High resolution optimisation of enzyme assay

  • We performed a 3,846 run space-fill DoE optimisation of an enzyme assay, in 8 hours

  • Antha’s automated data structuring provided a 94% time saving, accelerating the user’s time to insight

  • Antha also provided a 75% time saving in execution planning

  • Overall, we demonstrate the ability to run thousands of assay optimisation runs in a single day, opening up experimental possibilities that were previously intractable.