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Automation & PCR Technology

The Automation and PCR Technology group provides equipment, expertise, and collaborative services to Stowers Institute researchers regarding the automation of scientific experiments, including a particular focus on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques in which small samples of DNA are amplified to larger amounts for research studies.

Overview of Services

The Automation and PCR Technology team is dedicated to successful, high-quality project collaborations. They assist Institute research by supporting the use of numerous state-of-the-art instruments to enable completion of high-throughput projects and screens. The team provides instrument training, troubleshooting, and experimental design for real-time quantitative PCR. They have constructed yeast and bacterial collections, performed high-throughput screens, collaborated with Institute researchers to generate novel technologies, and used instrumentation to make routine laboratory tasks less tedious. The use of liquid handling and colony manipulation robots automate projects while reducing human error and increasing reproducibility. The team also provides automation expertise and guidance for custom automation projects.

An automated system of test tubes being moved into trays


  • Biomek i7 Automated Workstation
  • Tecan Freedom EVO 200 Liquid Handling Robot
  • Tecan Fluent 1080 Liquid Handling Robot
  • Tecan EVO qPCR Setup Robot
  • Thermo Kingfisher 96 FLEX
  • Qpix 420 Colony Picking Robot
  • Singer RoTor HDA robot
  • QuantStudio 7 Real Time qPCR System
  • QuantStudio 5 Real Time qPCR System (96 and 384-well formats)
  • Stilla Naica Crystal Digital PCR System
  • Agilent (Advanced Analytical) 5300 Fragment Analyzer System
  • Molecular Devices Spectramax iD3 Microplate reader
  • Tecan Spark Multi-Mode Plate Reader
  • Tecan Infinite 200 PRO Plate Reader
  • Bio-Rad T-100 Thermal Cyclers (4)
  • S&P Robotics Plate Imager
  • Integra VIAFLO 384 Benchtop Pipettor
  • Biotek 405 ts Plate Washer (2)
  • Biotek Multi-Flo (2)
  • NanoTemper Technologies Monolith NT.115

Team Contact

Dan Bradford

Head, Automation and PCR Technology

Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Portrait of Dan Bradford

Automation technology and expertise to complete custom high-throughput collaborative screens.

The Automation and PCR Technology Team takes pride in our ability to tackle ideas presented to us to produce novel automated techniques. Examples of past collaborative efforts include high-throughput karyotyping of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans, high-throughput bacterial and yeast transformations, high-throughput serial dilutions and spotting onto agar surfaces, high-throughput isolation and normalization of gDNA, RNA, and pDNA, development of chromosomal spectral karyotyping “paints” for human and murine cell lines, and development of low volume, high-throughput Gibson Assembly and cloning workflows.

A tray of test tubes half filled with yellow liquid

Automated Liquid Handling: Scaling Up While Scaling Down

Featured Publications

Translation of small downstream ORFs enhances translation of canonical main open reading frames

Wu Q, Wright M, Gogol MM, Bradford WD, Zhang N, Bazzini AA. EMBO J. 2020;39:e104763. doi: 104710../embj.2020104763.

Hypo-osmotic-like stress underlies general cellular defects of aneuploidy

Tsai HJ, Nelliat AR, Choudhury MI, Kucharavy A, Bradford WD, Cook ME, Kim J, Mair DB, Sun SX, Schatz MC, Li R. Nature. 2019;570:117-121.

Distribution of Proteins at the Inner Nuclear Membrane Is Regulated by the Asi1 E3 Ligase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Smoyer CJ, Smith SE, Gardner JM, McCroskey S, Unruh JR, Jaspersen SL. Genetics. 2019;211:1269-1282.

DNA replication stress restricts ribosomal DNA copy number

Salim D, Bradford WD, Freeland A, Cady G, Wang J, Pruitt SC, Gerton JL.  PLoS Genet. 2017;13:e1007006.doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007006.

Aneuploidy as a cause of impaired chromatin silencing and mating-type specification in budding yeast

Mulla WA, Seidel CW, Zhu J, Tsai HJ, Smith SE, Singh P, Bradford WD, McCroskey S, Nelliat AR, Conkright J, Peak A, Malanowski KE, Perera AG, Li R. eLife. 2017;6:e27991. doi: 27910.27554/eLife.27991.

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