Early development is the most dynamic period of life. A time when animals must put themselves together, whilst maintaining a functional phenotype with incredible temporal, spatial and functional change. This fundamental period, is also a time of heightened sensitivity to the environment and when biological responses can have significant influences on later life stages, ultimately affecting fitness and ecological processes.
EmbryoPhenomics is a team of researchers, led by
Dr Oliver Tills who are pushing the boundaries of measuring the process of embryonic development, complex and dynamic biological systems. The team are active in both innovation and research. Innovation is centred at their R&D workshop facilities at Plymouth Science Park, enabled by 3D printing, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.
The team use these instruments for research focussed on addressing pressing global challenges, including; environmental sensitivity assessment, modelling biological complexity and predicting biological responses. The team use the concept of phenomics in their research – high-dimensional organismal phenotyping, an approach spearheaded in medicine and crop science, but which has remained largely inaccessible in biology more broadly. Phenomics has been repeatedly highlighted as a key priority for advancing biology in the 21st century.
EmbryoPhenomics are strong advocates for open science. They develop both hardware and software, and make every effort to ensure these are accessible to maximise their impact.
Their technologies have broad relevance to research, education and industry, and consequently in designing them have taken every effort to make them versatile, user friendly and reproducible.
Their most recent invention is the LabEmbryoCam – a cost effective opensource instrument for the autonomous high-throughput phenotyping of developing aquatic embryos.
The LabEmbryoCam relies heavily on 3D printed components to enable the X, Y and Z scanning of a multiwell plate, over prolonged periods, and while optimised to overcome challenges associated with imaging developing aquatic embryos, it has broader availability.
The EmbryoPhenomics group recognise that not everybody has the time, facilities or inclination to build their own hardware, and this is one of the barriers hindering the uptake of open-source technologies.
Consequently, they now offer the opportunity for interested parties to buy the LabEmbryoCam directly from them, as an assembled instrument.
The instrument is a prototype, with no warranty or guarantee of minimal function, and interested parties must agree to this variant on an MIT license.
Those interested in buying in a LabEmbryoCam should in the first instance contact Dr Oliver Tills, email firstname.lastname@example.org, who will discuss user requirements and specific use cases, in order to provide a quote for an appropriately specified instrument.
To proceed with buying instruments visit the University online store and search for EmbryoPhenomics