Based on computer vision and motion control, the automated microrobotic system is capable of immobilizing a large number of zebrafish embryos into a regular pattern within seconds and injecting 15 embryos (chorion unremoved) per minute with a success rate, survival rate, and phenotypic rate all close to 100%. The system and performance were reported in the journal PLoS ONE in an article entitled, “A Fully Automated Robotic System for Microinjection of Zebrafish Embryos.”
Zebrafish is a model organism widely used in life sciences. High-speed injection of zebrafish embryos is important for screening genes in genetics and drug molecules in drug discovery. The automated microrobotic system proves itself as a reliable tool for determining gene functions and more generally, for facilitating large-scale molecule screening.
The technology was licensed to Marksman Cellject Inc. (http://www.marksman-cellject.com) for commercialization. Marksman Cellject Inc. is a start-up biotechnology company created by The Innovations Group (TIG) (http://www.innovations.utoronto.ca).
Collaborating with the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology, a fertility clinic (http://www.tcartonline.com), Marksman Cellject Inc. has received an Ontario Centres of Excellence grant to extend the zebrafish injection technology to mouse/human oocyte/embryo injection for in-vitro fertilization applications.
TIG is part of the Office of Research at U of T with the mandate of commercializing discoveries developed by its researchers and healthcare partners in the areas of Physical Sciences, Information Technology and Life Science for society’s benefit. Among TIG’s other recent start-ups are Greencore Composites (http://www.greencorenfc.com), Cast Connex (http://www.castconnex.com), Opalux (http://www.opalux.com), and Sketch2 (press release - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070515.SRINNO15/TPStory/?query=innovation).
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