"biology research" entries

Smart collaborations beget smart solutions

Software developers and hardware engineers team up with biologists to address laboratory inefficiencies.

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Following the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP) showcase, I met with fellows Mackenzie Cowell, co-founder of DIYbio.org, and Edward Perello, co-founder of Desktop Genetics. Cowell and Perello both wanted to know what processes in laboratory research are inefficient and how we can eliminate or optimize them.

One solution we’re finding promising is pairing software developers and hardware engineers with biologists in academic labs or biotech companies to engineer small fixes, which could result in monumental increases in research productivity.

An example of an inefficient lab process that has yet to be automated is fruit fly — Drosophila — manipulation. Drosophila handling and maintenance is laborious, and Dave Zucker and Matt Zucker from Flysorter are developing a technology using computer vision and machine learning software to automate these manual tasks; the team is currently engineering prototypes. This is a perfect example of engineers developing a technology to automate a completely manual and extremely tedious laboratory task. Check them out, and stay tuned for an article from them in the October issue of BioCoder. Read more…