Alzheimer's and Automation: A Match Made in Research?




Pierce, Melissa
Conger, Tori
Hall, James MD
O'Bryant, Sid Ph.D


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Alzheimer’s and Automation: A Match Made in Research? Presenter: Tori Conger and Melissa Pierce Classification: Staff Authors: Tori Conger,, UNT Health Science Center, Melissa Pierce,, UNT Health Science Center, Dr. James Hall MD,, UNT Health Science Center, Dr. Sid O’Bryant Ph.D, , UNT Health Science Center Objective: Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys memory, alters mental function, disrupts the autonomic nervous system and is detected only after an individual has had the disease for several years. Our research is dedicated to early detection of Alzheimer’s through blood-based biomarkers, clinical testing and MRIs. We are projected to see upwards of 3,000 people over a 5-year period. With one lab, four staff, and minimal sample process time, our research was in need of a system that could increase productivity, reduce human error and allow our samples to be fully processed from blood draw to freezer in under two hours. Our solution: the Hamilton Robotics Easyblood robot combined with a customized LIMS system. Methods: The lab was in need of a system to fully capture the blood collection process. To capture this information, a LIMS system was developed to document each milestone the sample reached such as time of blood draw, time into centrifuge, etc. The Easyblood robot was programmed to aliquot blood fractions (GLP-1 plasma, plasma, buffy coat and serum) to fit our needs based on each project’s protocol. For the LIMS system and Easyblood robot to communicate with each other, an SQL server database was utilized to link the LIMS system to Easyblood through a developed common bond: barcoded collection kits. Each collection kit (EDTA, SST, and p800 tube) has a project barcode and each tube in the collection kit has its own barcode, denoted by sample type. Results: With the implementation of the Easyblood robot and the LIMS system, the lab is able to track the blood collection process from beginning to end. This information enables lab personnel to process multiple samples at one time, easily identify the samples, reduce the amount of time between collection and storage and minimize human error. Conclusion: The two systems working in conjunction with each other allows for increased consistency, simplicity, and reliability in processing blood-based samples. IRB # 2015-171 IBC # 2017-0056