The Tecan is a liquid handling robot (made by TECAN) which allows us to dispense 96 well designs into deep well blocks (0.5 to 1.5 mL) and 24 well designs for pre-greased plates (Hampton Research VDXm – HR3-306) for hanging drop experiments.  We use the same booking form for the single tubes (10 to 50mL) required for additive optimisation, even though we make these up by hand.

The process for making a custom block requires us to know which design you want us to make up, and what volume of it you need.  When we get your booking, we translate the design (which is a description of the concentrations of the chemicals in each condition) into a recipe, which selects which of the C3 stocks will be used.

A block needs to be booked in at least half a day before any booking for plates using that block*.

*This ensures that we have adequate time for quality control and troubleshooting any issues

96 well optimisation block:

  • Design the 96 well screen using See3 (or C6*)
  • Log in to the booking site and select the Tecan resource
  • Fill out the web-form,selecting the 96 well block radio button option
  • Choose the screen design from the drop down list. Pick the ‘Use attached file’ option if you have designed your screen in C6 – remember to attach the .xml file to the booking!
  • By default 0.5 mL of each well is made (minimum volume), change this if you would like more (1.5 mL maximum volume)
  • * C6 is used to combine smaller optimisations (2 x 48 well, 4 x 24 well or 1 x 48 well + 2 x 24 well) into a single 96 well optimisation

24 well optimisation plate:

  • These will be made in 24 well pre-greased VDX plates for you to use for your own hanging drop experiments. 18 mm coverslips are the right size for this (e.g. HR3-239 from Hampton)
  • Select the 24 well crystallisation plate radio button option
  • Choose the screen design from the drop down list.
  • By default 0.5 mL of each well is made (minimum volume), change this if you would like more (1.0 mL maximum volume)

One well tubes:

  • Used for the base condition in additive screening*.  10 mL is enough for 1 additive screen.
  • Choose the 1 well tube option
  • You will have to cut and paste a recipe for the condition you want from See3. Click the ‘Recipe’ button found in the ‘Conditions’ option, circled in red below.
  • *Additive screening is the combination of a single condition with 96 different things – by default we use 90% condition and 10% additive screen. Any 96 well screen can be used as the 10% fraction, but the Hampton Research Additive Screen HT (HR2-138) is commonly used, as it has a single chemical in each well. You must use the optimisation tool in See3 to design the additive screen before booking it in.

There can be problems translating the design to a physical block – read on…

It is important that you THINK as you design an optimisation screen, as sometimes conditions in a design just cannot be made with the stocks that are available – for example,  a condition that contains 2M NaCl and 50% PEG 3350 can’t be made with stocks of 5M NaCl and 50% PEG 3350 – the well would ‘overfill’.  See3 will test for this and will not let you save a design with overfilled wells nor which requires stocks we don’t have.

  • A complete list of active stocks is available via the C6 webtool
  • Our buffers stocks (pH end points) are almost always only 1 pH unit from the pKa of the buffer
  • If you design a screen that we cannot make using the available stocks, the design will be rejected
  • This means we ONLY use stocks that are currently available within C3 (i.e. we do not accept external stocks)

Important Information!

You have to tell us if the block is for a Commercial or Non-Commercial project

If you don’t collect the block within a month of set up, it will be made (anonymously) available for public use – read more.