Each academic year we aim to fund and supervise around 2-3 student-led projects. Typically one project emphasises biological/wetlab aspects whilst the other focuses on more traditional hardware engineering.

Current Projects

Biology Project - Bacterial Photography and Image Processing

Project Leads: Andre Zylstra (az308) and Bill Jia (bzj20)

For this year's Biology Project we will be building light-responsive genetic circuits in E.coli!

Once we have settled into the Biomakespace, our first goal will be to implement a system to make the bacteria generate colour changes in their environment in response to light. Then we intend to move on to a genetic construct which will allow the bacterial coony to perform edge detection i.e. only to produce colour changes where the light / dark boundary falls over the colony.

Finally, we hope to be able to extend previously published work by generating a circuit enabling colonies to perform high-pass filtering, resulting in a kind of image sharpening behaviour. We expect computational modelling of the system will play a significant role in making this possible!

To dig into the finer details of the circuits we will be using, have a look at:

  1. Levskaya et al. (2005) Synthetic biology: Engineering Escherichia coli to see light. Nature, 438(7067),441-442.
  2. Tabor et al. (2009). A Synthetic Genetic Edge Detection Program. Cell, 137(7), 1272-1281.

Hardware Project - OpenScope

Project Leads: Jaza Syed (js2162)

This year we are focusing mainly on development of OpenScope, a low-cost open-source 3D printed microscope.

Past Projects

OpenScope Field Optimisation

This project aims to build on top of the OpenScope and WaterScope projects to improve the design's robustness and optimise it for field use in a range of conditions.

OpenScope Automation

This project aims to build on top of the OpenScope project for automated sample scanning applications, making particular use of open source desktop CNC machines as a cheap XY translation stage in which to mount the optics.

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