Automation & PCR Technology

The Automation and PCR Technology group provides equipment, expertise, and collaborative services to Stowers 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.

Research 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.

  • Biomek i7 Automated Workstation
  • Tecan Freedom EVO Liquid Handling Robot (2)
  • Qpix 420 Colony Picking Robot
  • Singer RoTor HDA robot
  • Tecan Freedom EVO qPCR Setup Robot
  • QuantStudio 7 Real Time qPCR System
  • QuantStudio 5 Real Time qPCR System (96 and 384-well formats)
  • Bio-Rad QX200 AutoDG Droplet Digital PCR System
  • Agilent (Advanced Analytical) 5300 Fragment Analyzer System
  • Spectramax iD3 Microplate reader
  • Tecan Infinite 200 PRO Plate Reader
  • Bio-Rad T-100 Thermal Cyclers (4)
  • S&P Robotics SPImager
  • Integra VIAFLO 96 Benchtop Pipettor
Team Contact 
Dan Bradford, BS
Head, Automation and PCR Technology

With a BS degree in biology and training as a molecular biologist, Dan Bradford started his scientific career genotyping populations of paddlefish. Bradford also spent time as a microbiologist culturing the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Rhizobium for various agricultural products. Since joining the former Molecular Biology team at the Institute in 2005, Bradford has worked with numerous laboratory automation systems to develop novel high-throughput protocols and screens. He has been instrumental in developing high-throughput automated techniques including qPCR karyotyping of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans, yeast-based high-content screening, and spectral karyotyping. He was an earlier adopter of synthetic genetic array technology for functional genomics screens. In 2019, Bradford was appointed senior laboratory manager of the newly formed Automation and PCR Technology team.

Featured Publications 
Wu Q, Wright M, Gogol MM, Bradford WD, Zhang N, Bazzini AA. Embo J. 2020:e104763. doi:10.15252/embj.2020104763.
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.
Smoyer CJ, Smith SE, Gardner JM, McCroskey S, Unruh JR, Jaspersen SL. Genetics. 2019;211:1269-1282.
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.
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.
© 2022 Stowers Institute for Medical Research