UMN Stem Cell Automation Lab Open to External Customers

The UMN Stem Cell Institute is home to two robotic cell culture workstations in the Laboratory for Stem Cell Automation. The customized TECAN Fluent machines were designed to perform automated workflows when reprogramming, culturing and differentiating stem cells, bringing the advantages of robotic precision, reproducibility and the ability to run without sleep to stem cell research and manufacturing. The workstations were purchased with the help of a very generous philanthropic gift to the Stem Cell Institute and Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences to support research into new treatments for Age-related Macular Degeneration.

The laboratory has worked closely with other University of Minnesota researchers since opening in the summer of 2018 and now extends the reach of the facility to work with external customers. One of the first commercial customers to utilize the Automation lab was local gene editing company Recombinetics from Eagan, Minnesota. Staff from Recombinetics worked with the Automation Laboratory to design and test hands-free culturing of gene-edited animal pluripotent stem cells. The implemented automated process involved robotic media changes, cell imaging, culture passaging and cell sampling to help identify and expand correctly edited stem cell clones. This project provided an example of the successful application of automation to a complex stem cell culture workflow.

External users who would like to explore the use of the Laboratory for Stem Cell Automation should contact James Dutton, PhD. Email: