We provide Crick-affiliated researchers with the expertise, training and tools needed to make devices to aid their experiments, while also acting as a forum to share expertise.
The evolution in manufacturing technologies has enabled easier access to tools such as 3D printing and photolithography, as well as CNC milling and microprocessor control. All of these techniques can be combined to prototype and construct a wide range of devices with applications in life sciences research.
In the microfluidics and biomaterials field for example, where we focus mostly on in vitro modelling, these devices can include microfabricated set-ups to control biological systems, microfluidics to move and manipulate the fluid environment, micro-contacting printing to precisely control cell-substrate interactions, bioprinted systems for 3D embedding of cells, and sensors to measure biological activities.
In the electronics and mechanics fields, we can work on fully automated systems for live experiments for behavioural analysis in neuroscience, optogenetics, and devices aiding biomedical imaging.
These complementary activities are often combined to deliver fully integrated systems for multidisciplinary projects. We also develop a wide range of versatile tools adapted to specific biomedical research projects shared with the Open Science community to contribute to the spreading of Making in biomedical research.
The Making Lab's physical space reflects our workflow and consists of a 'dry' space to perform computer-based design and simulation, as well as five lab areas in four rooms to perform fabrication: electronics and optics, microfluidics, 3D printing, bioprinting and mechanical manufacturing.
The platform operates on a project basis with Crick-affiliated labs To submit a project application, or ask questions, email us.
We will then organise a one-to-one meeting to outline the project in one of these ways:
Do it yourself
After initial training researchers can book and use the full set of equipment independently. We provide support and expertise whenever needed.
We work in a collaborative approach to develop complex projects. The Making Lab leads the technological work, while the research lab leads on the scientific work. Solutions are developed with an iterative approach, so that systems are optimised based on continuous feedback from the end-user.
After an initial consultation to understand the scientific question underlying the project, we will perform a first round of investigation to identify the most suitable engineering approach. We will then design and manufacture the system for the collaborating lab to perform the experiment and acquire data.
Projects can switch ways of working as needed. For example, we can develop a proof-of-concept to validate an approach, and then train users to take over at a later stage.