Establishment of a Robust Platform for Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Using Maholo LabDroid

SLAS Technol. 2021 Oct;26(5):441-453. doi: 10.1177/24726303211000690. Epub 2021 Mar 27.


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are attractive for use in early drug discovery because they can differentiate into any cell type. Maintenance cultures and differentiation processes for iPSCs, however, require a high level of technical expertise. To overcome this problem, technological developments such as enhanced automation are necessary to replace manual operation. In addition, a robot system with the flexibility and expandability to carry out maintenance culture and each of the required differentiation processes would also be important. In this study, we established a platform to enable the multiple processes required for iPSC experiments using the Maholo LabDroid, which is a humanoid robotic system with excellent reproducibility and flexibility. The accuracy and robustness of Maholo LabDroid enabled us to cultivate undifferentiated iPSCs for 63 days while maintaining their ability to differentiate into the three embryonic germ layers. Maholo LabDroid maintained and harvested iPSCs in six-well plates, then seeded them into 96-well plates, induced differentiation, and implemented immunocytochemistry. As a result, Maholo LabDroid was confirmed to be able to perform the processes required for myogenic differentiation of iPSCs isolated from a patient with muscular disease and achieved a high differentiation rate with a coefficient of variation (CV) <10% in the first trial. Furthermore, the expandability and flexibility of Maholo LabDroid allowed us to experiment with multiple cell lines simultaneously.

Keywords: automated cell culture system; drug discovery; induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); laboratory automation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • Reproducibility of Results