A microfluidic device

Making Lab : Methodologies

Standard content

A recent revolution in technology has enabled tools such as 3D printing and photolithography, together with CNC milling and microprocessor control, to be used to prototype and construct a wide range of devices with applications in life sciences research.

These devices include microfabricated devices to control biological systems, microfluidics to move and manipulate the fluid environment, micro-contacting printing to precisely control cell-substrate interactions, sensors to measure biological activities and devices aiding biomedical imaging.

We bring together these activities, combining complementary activities such as microfabrication, electronics, systems integration and soft lithography. We're positioned to lead a global trend in biology that is enabling the move toward low-cost iterative design of instruments and equipment which are tailor-made for individual groups and experiments.

We provide researchers with the tools, expertise and training needed to make devices to aid their experiments as well as a forum to share expertise. In doing so, the Making Lab aims to be a creative, collaborative, co-working space where Crick researchers work together with Making Lab staff and other researchers to exchange skills, ideas, and techniques to address their own research questions.

The Making Lab's physical space reflects our workflow and as such consists of a 'dry' space to perform computer-based design and simulation, as well as three lab areas to perform the fabrication.

Expertise

We harbour multiple areas of expertise within the Making Lab, including microfabrication (photo- and soft-lithography for microfluidic, micropatterning, lab-on-a-chip and other applications), macrofabrication (3D printing, CNC milling, laser cutting), electronic, optical and thermal design.

Although most of the applications will be in the microfabrication area, a number of our projects demand integration of all of these fabrication techniques. Read more about our specific equipment. 

Collaboration models

Our equipment is only a set of tools to help us address the questions at-hand. The real engine of the lab is driven by personnel including our biodevices project coordinator and user and training coordinator. Our staff’s combination of engineering and life sciences backgrounds allows us to offer three mechanisms of working with the lab:

Collaboration Models

1. Do it yourself

After initial training on our equipment, researchers can book and use the equipment independently.

2. Consultancies

Through initial consultation with the researcher to understand the scientific question and understand basic design constraints and parameters, we design and manufacture the device with continual interaction with the user. This continual feedback between us and the end-user ensures the fabrication properly addresses the researcher’s needs.

3. Projects

Similar to consultancies, but we take on more of the workload.