The Dittmer Lab at the University of North Carolina is using a Freedom EVO® 150 with an integrated LightCycler® 480 Real-Time PCR System to perform research activities and investigate the biology of viral cancers, such as those caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV).
The Group uses qPCR profiling to study various aspects of KSHV, as postdoctoral research associate Pauline Chugh explained: “We use three main strategies to investigate viral tumorigenesis – viral gene expression, microRNA (miRNA) expression and viral load testing of clinical samples – based on 96 primer qPCR arrays. Performing the assays manually would be very labor-intensive, and so we use automation to provide the throughput necessary for these studies.”
The Group’s Freedom EVO system provides walkaway automation of sample preparation for subsequent qualitative and quantitative nucleic acid detection by real-time PCR, ensuring accurate and reliable assay plate setup in a 384 well format.
Pauline continued: “The workstation gives us the ability to perform automated analysis of up to 750 gene sequences per sample in just one day, allowing us to, for example, look at the whole miRNA library following infection with the virus. We have also been able to miniaturize many of our protocols, which offers significant cost savings in terms of reagents. Having the ability to multitask has also significantly improved our productivity, allowing us to perform other experiments or analyze data while the instrument is running. Alternatively, we can load 60 individual arrays onto the Freedom EVO and leave the system running overnight. It’s basically generating data while you sleep.”