How robots can reduce drug experiments

New York, Feb 10 (IANS) Researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, have created a robotically-driven experimentation system to determine the effects of a large number of drugs on many proteins, reducing the number of necessary experiments by as much as 70 percent.

“Biomedical scientists have invested a lot of effort in making it easier to perform numerous experiments quickly and cheaply,” said lead author Armaghan Naik from Carnegie Mellon University’s computational biology department.

“However, we simply cannot perform an experiment for every possible combination of biological conditions, such as genetic mutation and cell type. Researchers have, therefore, had to choose a few conditions or targets to test exhaustively, or pick experiments themselves. The question is which experiments do you pick,” Naik added.

For this, Naik’s team previously described the application of a machine learning approach called “active learning”.

This involved a computer repeatedly choosing which experiments to do, in order to learn efficiently from the patterns it observed in the data.

While their approach had only been tested using synthetic or previously acquired data, the team’s current model builds on this by letting the computer choose which experiments to do.

The experiments were then carried out using liquid-handling robots and an automated microscope. As the system progressively performed the experiments, it identified more phenotypes and more patterns in how sets of proteins were affected by sets of drugs.

The model was recently presented in the journal eLife.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here