At the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station, the newest member of the research team has a Star Wars-inspired nickname—Kylo Rodent—and an abundance of acronyms.
The Tecan EVO liquid-handling robot arrived at Calder in December, thanks in part to a National Science Foundation grant. The machine is helping biologist Jason Munshi-South, PhD, process DNA being used to study the rodent and coyote populations in New York City. It is queued to work on other research projects, too.
Its Liquid Handling Arm (LiHa) has eight pipette “fingers” that distribute liquid into tubes, and its Remote Operated Machine Arm (ROMA) moves things onto a heating or shaking mechanism to prep DNA for analysis—all of which give Kylo’s human counterparts more time for research and analysis.
“It doesn’t take breaks, doesn’t get shaky, and can work through the night,” said graduate student Matthew Combs, who works in Munshi-South’s lab. “Learning how to use it will be a great skill for students.”