DIY Biolab plan to build and document open hardware for molecular biology.
Open source (OS) is reliant on a free and efficient exchange of concepts and products, and has been most successful in computing where the internet and common coding languages have enabled widespread dissemination of and participation in software projects. Open biology will require a similar set of systems in order to prosper.
In lab hardware terms OS allows for the creation of tailored solutions using modifiable equipment rather than general purpose lab equipment. Many lab processes have common physical (eg heating/cooling for PCR, incubation, hot blocks) and software (eg peak detection, feedback control) components.
In the most recent “Hack The Lab” workshop as part of the University of Cambridge Synthetic Biology initiative, there has been a great interest in building a do-it-yourself (DIY) biolab to make genetic research more accessible. Public biolabs already exists in a number of other cities. Our proposal is to investigate the currently available OS designs for basic laboratory equipment (PCR, pipette, centrifuge, microscope, electrophoresis system, fume hood) in order to build the first open labware DIY biolab. We plan to build and assess the function of the systems to generate a local resource bank of example equipment, subassemblies, suppliers, expertise, and documented software and hardware component libraries that will be useful to university laboratories as well as the open biology movement.
PhD candidate - Winton scholar for physics of sustainability, Department of Physics.
Gates Scholar, Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy
Ian McFarlane, Biologist, CamGenomics Ltd
Aleksandar Tomic, Calibration specialist, ThermoFisher