The past two years of the coronavirus pandemic have only served to emphasize the critical need for scientific expertise. Yet, the effects of the pandemic have also radically changed the way that we work, forcing us to find new ways of producing this expertise from home, as well as in the lab and office.
Synthace recently announced taking a core step forward in tackling both of these problems, through its collaboration with the UCLs SPiDER Group. The collaboration will address how automation solutions can be used in shared physical and digital spaces for educational and research purposes.
According to UCLs recent statements, the firm’s researchers will be leveraging Synthace’s pioneering no-code automation R&D platform to automate routine tasks and design workflows while working from any location as well as utilizing rarely used equipment without the need for custom code. The firm claims that this will let them build durable experimental designs that can be simulated remotely and then passed on for testing and implementation on their existing automation platforms. By embracing this cutting-edge technology, the researchers will future-proof their protocols in case of any unexpected disruptions to working styles and locations.
According to both the firms’ sources, this push towards digitization is harnessing the problems thrown up by the pandemic and transforming them into an opportunity. Life sciences face a reproducibility crisis, since a lack of standardization around biological protocols – the instructions needed to design and run experiments – means that they can be misinterpreted when reproduced and therefore introduce opportunities for error that the human eye will often miss.
According to UCLs researchers and reports compiled, by employing Synthace’s platform, UCL’s researchers will be able to curb the prospects for this human error by utilizing standard biological experimentation in a way that can be reliably automated in the lab itself. It also has the added benefit of allowing for “walk-up” automation services, meaning that groups across UCL can easily access and benefit from the same equipment.
Dr Duygu Dikicioglu, Associate Professor in Digital Bioprocess Engineering at the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering said: ”Using the Synthace platform as part of the SPiDER group’s 12-month feasibility project is a gateway to digitalization and real support to both our research and our teaching. It’s exciting because it will allow our researchers to work remotely, address reproducibility challenges and mitigate the effects of institutional knowledge loss.”
Markus Gershater, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder at Synthace: “Transformation happens where powerful technologies and experiments meet. As more systematic experimental methodologies become a reality (with an assist from automation and machine learning) they’ll inevitably accelerate the already rapid rate of bioscience progress. We’re honored to collaborate with UCL, a true bioprocessing pioneer, as it leads the way in building its digital lab capabilities. They’re setting a shining example of best practice within the UK HE sector, and indeed in the entire scientific community.”
The collaboration ultimately proves how cloud-enabled data and services can revolutionize R&D – something that a recent Deloitte article notes, is currently ‘at an inflection point’. In this way, Synthace and the UCL SPiDER Group can help to ensure that their vital research continues to take place without the need for researchers to always physically be in the lab.