The manual process of the Design-Build-Test cycle, intrinsic to many synthetic biology projects, is very time consuming, susceptible to errors, limited by scale, and virtually impossible to be reliably reproduced. These are major obstacles that affect achieving significant results in a faster, cheaper, and more efficient way. Bringing automation to the laboratory routine can save researchers time to dedicate themselves to more intellectual activities, bring standardization to procedures and protocols, allow the projects to be scaled, reduce human-errors, and improve both sample and data storage. However, it is important to know when automation is warranted and when human action is sufficient for a procedure. Due to a lack of standardized methods and metrics, researchers have struggled with forming a well-informed plan of execution among the different automation-friendly cloning methodologies available. The goal of our group is to develop protocols, hardware, and software to investigate and optimize DNA assembly automation through quantifiable metrics.



Today the possibilities in lab automation in terms of:

1.    Hardware; 

2.    Software;

3.    and Methodologies 

are countless and there is a lack of informative metrics about these different procedures. This is a source of uncertainty for researchers aiming for the best cost-benefit to their labs, especially regarding

1.    Costs; 

2.    Ease; 

3.    and Time. 

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  • D. I. Walsh, D. S. Kong, S. K. Murthy,  P. A. Carr, "Enabling Microfluidics: from Clean Rooms to Makerspaces," Trends in Biotechnology, 2017.

  • D. S. Kong, T. A. Thorsen, J. Babb, S. T. Wick, J. J. Gam, R. Weiss, and P. A. Carr, "Open-source, Community-driven Microfluidics with Metafluidics," Nature Biotechnology, 2017.

  • L. Ortiz, M. Pavan, L. McCarthy, J. Timmons,  D. M. Densmore, "Automated Robotic Liquid Handling Assembly of Modular DNA Devices," Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2017.

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