Automated Immunoelectrophoresis Machine

The Automated Immunoelectrophoresis Machine was designed, manufactured and installed by Boller and Chivens.
One of John O’Rourke’s last jobs with Boller and Chivens before the merger with Applied Optics Division in 1980, was a very interesting job for the government of Japan. An expert in immunoelectrophoresis at USC Medical Center talked the Japanese government into funding the design and manufacture of an automated electrophoresis machine. The General Manager of Boller and Chivens, Larry Burris, was a USC alumni and made the contact. The machine had everything, X-Y traversing mechanisms, Pipetting needles, digital camera on the traverse head, fiberoptic lights, electrophoresis trays and electrophoresis power supply.

Immunoelectrophoresis is a general name for a number of biochemical methods for separation and characterization of proteins based on electrophoresis and reaction with antibodies. All variants of immunoelectrophoresis require immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies reacting with the proteins to be separated or characterized.

After  the machine was finished the Japanese took it back to Japan to write the software for analyzing the test results. Problems developed with the software and the funding. The project was dropped. The machine was purchased by USC and returned to Los Angeles. Bill DeBoynton, of Boller and Chivens Applied Optics Division, helped set it up at USC Medical Center.