Good-bye outsourcing, hello in-house science: how innovation is giving scientists more control at the bench

The CytoFLEX SRT is a benchtop cell sorter from Beckman Coulter.

Ten years ago, as a Ph.D. student fellow at Indiana University studying the evolution of prokaryotes, the cheapest and easiest way for me to sequence some microbes was to send them halfway around the world to China. Even with quick shipping and no problems with the sequencing, it could take up to a month for me to see results. I was sure there had to be a better way, but with existing instruments, I had no idea what that would be.

Now, as a product manager at Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, I can say that a range of technological advancements means that researchers can conduct their experiments at their own bench. Improved automation in the form of robot arms and liquid handlers, as well as better software and user interfaces, make it possible to readily handle once-complicated tasks like library prep and cell sorting in-house without years of t…

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