QiaSymphony Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction Facility (QANE)

Contact: Mr Nick Edwards, QiaSymphony SRF Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1865 617646
Email: nick.edwards@ndm.ox.ac.uk


Nucleic acids are one of the most fundamental units of biological research. The genes coded for in DNA or RNA, translated by and expressed via other RNAs are integral to many research projects. In order to use or study nucleic acids in organisms as part of research, they need to be extracted from the source material. This could be whole blood or other body fluids, frozen tissues or almost any biological material that contains DNA or RNA, including FFPE preserved material. Many varied bench methods exist for extraction of nucleic acids but all are inevitably labour intensive and may be technically demanding. When many samples are required for a study, the hands on time for lab staff may be significant. Automation can reduce this, as well as minimising cross contamination and increasing the workflow speed and quality of extracted material.

Automated solutions such as the QiaSymphony SP allow high quality extraction of DNA or RNA from a variety of starting materials with the ability to process up to 96 samples at a time with minimal hands on time. Even high throughput protein extraction is possible for some applications (6-HIS tagged recombinant proteins). Extracted nucleic acid is then available for downstream applications such as qPCR, RT-PCR, sequencing, transcriptomics or other analysis methods. Quality of extracted material (particularly RNA) may be assessed by the Agilent 2200 Tapestation (equivalent to the 2100 BioAnalyser, but with improved ease of use). The QiaSymphony platform is used worldwide for medical diagnostic and forensic quality nucleic acid extraction as well as in research and is well established and supported.

Services provided

The Qiagen QiaSymphony SP and Agilent Tapestation 2200 have been set up as a Small Research Facility that is part of the Jenner Institute, in the Old Road Campus Research Building, Oxford. The facility provides two main services:

With the QiaSymphony: Automated extraction of DNA or total RNA from a wide variety of source materials, RNA from Paxgene blood tubes (not compatible with TEMPUS tubes), or 6-His tagged recombinant proteins.

With the Tapestation 2200:  Quality analysis of cDNA up to 1Kb, gDNA, RNA (RINe calculation of quality) or protein 20-200KDa.

These services are available to all members of Oxford University, other academic institutions, and industry. Either or both instruments may be booked for studies. Quotations can be provided and a PO placed if users wish to proceed with individually booked sessions or a block of time.

Training and/or experimental and technical assistance is provided as necessary. Initial pilot projects may be able to be supplied with some plasticware consumables. For larger studies, users are expected to purchase their own reagents and plastics but can take advantage of negotiated Jenner bulk discounts on Qiagen consumables and we can store enough on site for a few day’s work at a time for external users. Charges for use of the facility relate to instrument time, service contract costs and training/assistance provided and are calculated using the University Small Research Facility template.

Facility equipment

Qiagen QiaSymphony SP (purchased 2015)

Robotic nucleic acid or protein extraction system:

Qiagen QiaSymphony SP


Wide variety of kits available (Qiagen Technical Services also offer bespoke protocols and advice/proof of principle testing if required).

QIAsymphony Certal® Residual DNA

Purification of DNA from up to 1000 μl biological process samples

QIAsymphony Certal Vaccine NA

Purification of viral nucleic acids from up to 1000 μl biological process samples

QIAsymphony DSP AXpH DNA

Purification of DNA from liquid-based cytology samples using AXpH technology

QIAsymphony DSP DNA

Purification of DNA from up to 1000 μl human whole blood, 400 μl buffy coat, 50 mg tissue, or 1 x 107 cells

QIAsymphony DNA Investigator®

Purification of reference and casework samples for human identity testing and forensics

QIAsymphony DSP Virus/Pathogen

Purification of viral nucleic acids from up to 1000 μl plasma, serum, or CSF. Purification of viral nucleic acids and bacterial DNA from up to 800 μl respiratory samples, urine, transport media, or air-dried swabs

QIAsymphony mericon®

Bacteria Purification of bacterial DNA from 500 μl enrichment culture

QIAsymphony Ni-NTA Denaturing

Purification of 6xHis-tagged proteins from up to 5 ml E. coli or up to 2.5 x 10 7 eukaryotic cells

QIAsymphony Ni-NTA Native

Purification of 6xHis-tagged proteins from up to 5 ml E. coli or up to 2.5 x 10 7 eukaryotic cells

QIAsymphony PAXgene® Blood RNA*

Purification of cellular RNA from 2.5 ml human whole blood collected in PAXgene Blood RNA Tubes

QIAsymphony RNA

Purification of total RNA and miRNA from up to 50 mg tissue, FFPE tissue, or 1 x 107 cells

Agilent Tapestation 2200 (purchased 2015)

Industry standard quality analysis equivalent to BioAnalyser 2100:

Agilent Tapestation 2200


Training can be provided so that researchers can process their own samples at a reduced cost, with minimal assistance from SRF staff.

Both QiaSymphony and Tapestation are covered by comprehensive service contracts and typical working day turnaround time in the case of a machine fault, is no more than 48 hours. (Enhanced engineer cover for the QiaSymphony may be made by arrangement with Qiagen if required.)

This is a very good automated facility for extraction from large numbers of samples with excellent recovery, consistency and purity, virtually zero cross contamination and minimal hands on time, with the option for on-site QC of extracted material.

We welcome opportunities for collaboration or business partnership; enquiries can be directed to Mr Nick Edwards:

Tel: +44 (0)1865 617646
Email: nick.edwards@ndm.ox.ac.uk