Configurable automated well plate illuminator for in vitro research in drug discovery and optogenetics

Elias Kokko, Robert Perttilä, Lasse Orsila, Zoe Ylöniemi, Johannes Kivelä, Petteri Uusimaa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


There is a demand for a robust and flexible illumination and screening instrument for preclinical light-sensitive drug development and optogenetic research. While there is a great selection of different types of commercial plate readers available on the market, these instruments do not provide enough versatility for high-throughput illumination experiments. In addition, plate readers typically utilize xenon flash lamps or LEDs for sample analysis, which have wider spectral output and lower excitation powers compared to lasers. To answer this unmet need, we have developed an automated, laser-based well-plate illuminator, the ML8500. It enables flexible setup of illumination parameters like wavelength, light irradiance and fluence well-by-well within a single experiment. The fluorescence monitoring possibility expands the applicability beyond sample illumination to support various fluorescence applications. The built-in incubator minimizes unspecific cellular stress and ensures consistent data even during long measurement cycles. The system is also Cloud-connected, supporting data collection and analysis, and enabling machine learning and AI based biomedical research in the future. The ML8500 can be a useful tool for many biomedical fields such as optogenetics, where the activation of light-responsive opsins and simultaneous fluorescence monitoring of sensor proteins enables spatiotemporally controlled, all-optical electrophysiology. Independent of the field of use, the ML8500 can reduce the cost of experimental labor while increasing the reproducibility and data throughput of experiments. In this presentation, we describe the key features of the ML8500, how it is operated, proof-of-concept testing results as well as present some application areas where the ML8500 is especially useful.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues XIX
EditorsIrene Georgakoudi, Attila Tarnok, James F. Leary
Place of PublicationWashington
ISBN (Electronic)9781510641303
ISBN (Print)9781510641297
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventImaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues - Online Only, United States
Duration: 6 Mar 202111 Mar 2021
Conference number: XIX

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceImaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Automation
  • In vitro screening
  • Laser-based illumination
  • ML8500
  • Phototherapy

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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