Starter Kit

The Starter Kit: Learning to use microarrays

The Starter Kit was developed in order to satisfy a need for high quality training in microarray technology in the BioPAD region. It is offered as an extension of our service to the research community, and aims to dispel the idea that microarrays are technically difficult to perform.

What is it all about?

The Starter Kit is designed to give scientists first-hand experience in successfully planning and conducting a microarray experiment. Each participant receives two pre-spotted microarray slides, two samples to compare, and all the consumables required to complete a microarray experiment. The provided samples consist of known PCR products in varying concentrations that are complementary to the spots on the array and yield varying spot colour ratios on hybridisation (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Section of a microarray slide from the Starter Kit. Each spot is replicated four times in a column

Presented in the form of a practical workshop, the Starter Kit takes the participant through each step of the process, over the course of three days. Each participant designs a simple experiment using the two slides and two samples provided. Each participant gets to label their own samples and prepare them for hybridisation. Time is also spent on practising hybridisations, using dummy slides and cover slips to practise the crucial step of loading target onto the slide and placing the cover slip over it without forming any bubbles. Once hybridisation is complete, the slides are washed and scanned and captured images made available to users for practising image analysis.

Time is also set aside throughout the day for discussions about microarray related issues such as experimental design, data analysis procedures, required consumables and so forth. Many of the past participants of the course are now performing their own microarray experiments and used the Starter kit as their first step in this direction.

Who should take part?

Anyone interested in using microarrays as a tool in their own research for either gene expression analysis or diagnostics. The course offers a great way to gain familiarity with the protocols and techniques required for microarray analysis at low cost, and before embarking on experiments with precious or limited samples. No previous experience with microarrays is required.

When is the next Starter Kit session?

There are no set dates for the Starter Kit, as courses are currently run as the need arises. Anyone interested in participating in the Starter Kit programme should contact us to organise dates for their own session.


Approx. R900/person includes all slides, samples and consumables.


Day 1



Lab orientation, prepare dNTP`s, start Klenow labelling reaction

Day 2


09h00 - 10h00

Stop Klenow reaction, purify and dry samples


Discussion about literature and projects


Prepare hybridisation solutions and resuspend probe. Pre-hybridise slides and practise dummy hybridisations. Once pre-hyb is complete, set up hybridisations to run overnight

Day 3


09h00 - 12h30

Wash and scan slides, view image and introduction to image analysis software (for those interested)

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