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High Throughput Biological Analysis Facility

High Throughput Biological Analysis Facility
140 Cargill
1500 Gortner Avenue
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

Contact Information
Nick Hahn
Junior Scientist

Facilities and Equipment


The HTBA Facility is located in the Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics on the St. Paul Campus, and occupies a 1500 sqft space specifically designed for screening and lab automation purposes.


Integrated Automated Systems
Beckman Core System (Acquired by Dr. Schmidt-Dannert Lab)
  • Biomek FX liquid handler (Beckman/Coulter)
    • Equipped with 96-channel head and Span-8
    • Capable of transferring reagents from a variety of plates and reservoirs into both 96- and 384-well microtiter plates
    • Has the capacity to wash tips
    • Has the capacity to control reagent temperature (cooling or heating)
    • Additional components can be added to the instrument to increase its functionality or to upgrade existing capabilities
  • ORCA robotic arm on a 3 meter rail
  • Tip box storage station that can hold 96 tip boxes
  • Tip box delidding station
  • Temperature controlled incubator; primarily used for microtiter plates
  • SpectraMax Plus384 plate reader (Molecular Devices Corp.)
    • Detects UV/visible absorption
    • Single monochromator instrument (190-1000 nm)
    • Capable of performing spectral scans for absorption
    • Reads cuvettes and 96- and 384-well plates
    • Temperature controlled
  • Gemini XS plate reader (Molecular Devices Corp.)
    • Detects fluorescence intensity, time-resolved fluorescence, and luminescence
    • Dual monochromator instrument (250-850 nm)
    • Capable of performing spectral scans for excitation or emission
    • Reads 6-, 12-, 24-, 48-, 96- and 384-well plates
    • Temperature controlled
  • Ambient-temperature carousel for labware storage with the capacity to hold 144 microtiter plates and 16 reservoirs
  • 6-position orbital plate shaker
  • Barcode reader
  • Barcode printer
  • Plate sealer
  • 4-plate PCR Machine (Tetrad DNA Engine, MJ Research)
  • System is integrated through SAMI software with e-mail on error
Non-integrated Automated Systems
Genetix Qbot (Acquired by Dr. Vanden Bosch Lab)
  • 96 pin picking head
  • 96 pin replicating/rearray head
  • 96 and 384 pin gridding heads

The Qbot performs colony picking (220x220 mm bioassay trays or 100mm Petri dishes) into 96 or 384 plates, macroarraying (sample spotting on nylon membrane), sample rearraying.

Other lab equipment

  • Qfill2-96&384 plate dispenser
  • Branson Sonicating bath
  • Sorvall Legend RT w/ microtiter plate hanging baskets
  • Millipore MilliQ water purifier
  • Beckman Coulter 22R microfuge centrifuge
  • Neslab RTE-101 recirculation bath
  • Isotemp Laboratory Refrigerator
  • Kenmore -20 Freezer
  • Thermoforma -86C ULT Freezer
  • 2 Safeaire Chemical Hoods
  • Baker Co. Class II Type A Biological Safety Hood
  • Thermoforma Class II Type A1 Biological Safety Hood
Database System and Software


Oracle Server:
Sun, Sunfire 6800
  • 16 UltraSparc III 900 Mhz processors
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • 400GB of Diskspace
  • OS: Solaris 8
  • Oracle Version: 9i
File Server:
Unisys ES 7000 with EMC disk array
  • 2 Terabyte of shared space (additional storage space can be added as needed)
  • OS:Windows 2003 Server
Client Machine:
Dell Optoplex GX270
  • Pentium IV 3.00 Ghz
  • 1 GB of Ram
  • 120 GB of Diskspace
  • OS:Windows XP Professional 2002
All machines are administered by the staff of the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute. The Oracle server and the file server are housed in dedicated Supercomputer Institute computer laboratories, which are connected to the HTS Facility using the new Gopher Giganet, which enables 1 gigabit ethernet service. The Oracle server and the file server are backed up nightly onto tape.


IDBS Activity Base
  • Compound library registration and inventory
    • Registration and management of screening protocols
    • Capture, storage and analysis of screening data
    • Complex querying and data mining
    • Extraction and presentation of data in a variety of formats

Additional software includes XLfit and SARgen.

XLfit is a statistics and curve-fitting software package that integrates with ActivityBase, and it is used for calculating screening data as it is uploaded to ActivityBase.

SARgen also integrates with ActivityBase and is a useful tool for querying the database and performing basic structure-activity relationship studies.