The Center for Genomic Science of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Milan selects HighRes Biosolutions to implement flexible laboratory automation system for genomic screening

January 24, 2012

The Center for Genomic Science (CGS) of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT@SEMM) based in Milan, Italy at the IFOM-IEO Campus has selected HighRes Biosolutions to supply a flexible NanoCell™ laboratory automation system. The NanoCell system will be installed in the Screening Unit of the Center and will be placed in a Biosafety Level 2+ (BSL2+) enclosure. It will automate genome-wide high-throughput and high-content siRNA screens to drive the collaborative research programs of the Center for Genomic Science of IIT@SEMM.

The NanoCell automation system will be primarily used for the identification of disease-associated molecular markers and targets with a particular focus on cancer, using a genomic approach. The installation at IIT reflects a recent trend of increasing numbers of academic screening groups using lab automation to screen many more targets and experimental conditions in parallel than is possible using semi-automated or manual methods. The modular and flexible design of the HighRes NanoCell system, with its patented MicroDockTM stations, is ideally suited to the ever-changing research demands of academic groups such as the Center for Genomic Science of IIT.

“Modularity and flexibility were two key criteria for us during the decision-making process” said Mark Wade, Senior Researcher at the Center for Genomic Science of IIT@SEMM and Screening Unit Coordinator. “As a unit that collaborates with scientists on a broad range of biological issues, we will be running a diverse spectrum of assays. Our research will identify novel cell signaling pathways associated with normal and pathological conditions. The NanoCell system provides a solution that has the agility to adapt to assay-specific demands and will harness the power of genome-wide screening technology at CGS of IIT@SEMM, synergizing the Screening Unit’s research with other activities in IIT’s multidisciplinary network.”

“We are excited to be working with the IIT team in Italy,” said Jack Dawson, Business Director Europe at HighRes Biosolutions. “HighRes’ team of scientists and application specialists worked closely with Mark and his researchers throughout the sales process to ensure the NanoCell system is optimally designed for their current and projected scientific applications. We are pleased that Mark sees the value of applying our flexible automation system to his group’s research needs and are looking forward to a successful collaboration”.

About Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a private law foundation jointly established by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, with the aim of promoting excellence in both basic and applied research and to facilitate the development of the national economy.  IIT’s total staff is comprised of approximately 900 individuals. The scientific area is represented by about 550 people, of which nearly 25% are foreigners coming from more than 35 countries worldwide and around 15% are “returning Italian brains.”  Approximately 25% of the staff is composed of young graduate students. IIT has produced approximately 65 patents and more than 2000 publications. The departments that collaborate in the main office based in Genoa include Robotics (“Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences” and “Advanced Robotics”), departments oriented to life sciences (“Neuroscience and Brain Technologies” and “Drug Discovery and Development”) and the “Nanochemistry”, “Nanophysics”, “Nanostructures” and “Pattern Analysis & Computer Vision” facilities.  Since 2009 the scientific activity has been further supported by 10 research centers located throughout Italy (Turin, Milan, Trento, Parma, Rome, Pisa, Naples, Lecce) that are developing the new platforms of the 2009-2011 scientific plan.

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About HighRes Biosolutions
HighRes Biosolutions, Inc. ( is the leader in the design and construction of innovative robotic systems and laboratory devices used by pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic research laboratories. HighRes accelerates drug discovery, high-throughput genotyping, siRNA screening, next-generation sequencing sample prep, biorepository science and molecular diagnostics with highly flexible, expandable and modular integrated systems and bench-top devices that are easily configured (and reconfigured) to create research environments conducive to achieving breakthrough results.