ELISA Troubleshooting

Content & Learning Objective

“Theory and practice are one like body and soul but, also like soul and body, they are usually locked in battle.” (Marie Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach)
This seminar is an opportunity for you to extend what you learned in the basic ELISA course in order to recognize, prevent and resolve some fairly exotic problems that can come up in connection with ELISA. To refresh your knowledge, the basics of this technology are reviewed. Then you are confronted with prepared scenarios and given problems to analyze while keeping the basic principles in mind, and then develop strategies for detecting, resolving and avoiding them. Questions and contributions by the participants, drawing on their everyday lives, are integrated into this process.

The focuses of this theoretical course are:

  • Use and storage of ELISA tests
  • Choosing a suitable test setup
  • Test components
  • Manual mistakes
  • Quality control
  • Does the test meet my expectations?
  • Reproducibility: intra-assay, inter-assay and inter-personal
  • Preparing and processing samples
  • Choosing standards
  • Use of controls
  • Technical complications: equipment, detectors, connections
  • Evaluation: interpretation vs. manipulation
  • As a group exercise, ELISE troubleshooting guides are created.

Target Group

Technical and scientific staff who use ELISA in their labs and have already gained experience in this area


Dr. Peter Schröder studied biology at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and also did his doctorate there at the Institute of Physiological Chemistry. After stints abroad in Milwaukee and Stockholm, he joined the research staff of the university’s Research Institute for Environmental Medicine. He was involved in developing ELISAs for quantifying sexual hormone in pelagic fish and gained experience with a wide range of commercially available ELISAs for oxidative stress, dermatology and geriatric research. Since 2011, Dr. Schröder has worked as an independent teacher, coach and consultant.