Nicolo Woodward, Guillermo Aceves, Zakaria Bennouna, Rachel Pleitez Duran, Daniel Espinoza, Adam Ellenbogen, Cindy Long, Katherine Gonzalez, Sagar Das
The Vitatron synergizes several typically separate processes of cell culture research into an all-in-one customizable, compact, and truly autonomous bioreactor. It combines liquid handling, cell culture monitoring, and environmental controls into one product, letting the user merely set up their desired samples and conditions for the system to then begin operation hands-free. Housed in a 3-layer composite wall for high thermal resistance, the Vitatron is capable of wide temperature ranges through an electric heater and a chiller-heat exchangersystem-cooling through a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. The liquid handling and optical measurement system move accurately and precisely due to the ball-screw setup for 3-axis motion. The pipettes consist of Opentron’s open-source generation 2 P1000, as well as a scaled up version to reach higher volumes. Furthermore, the optical measurement system allows for both optical density and fluorescent intensity measurements with any desired wavelength and through a plethora of well sizes. It does so through its use of a refractive grating, beam expander, and fluorescence wheel with interchangeable lenses. The Vitatron features a well tray that fits anypre-existing well plates, and any combination of falcon tubes to allow the user to run eclectic and esoteric experiments alike. This universal tray sits on top of an agitator system capable of linear, orbital, and double orbital shake patterns. The harmony of these autonomous systems allows for constant, sanitary cell culture growth and monitoring with minimal user interaction.