Access to 3-D printing is changing the work in research labs

Access to 3-D printing is changing the work in research labs
Eric Brown is a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences, and a researcher with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University. Credit: McMaster University

A small, black box developed in a McMaster University lab could change the way scientists search for new antibiotics.

The Printed Fluorescence Imaging Box—or PFIbox, for short—is capable of collecting massive amounts of data that will help researchers in the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research in their quest to discover .

The box allows scientists to analyze more than 6,000 samples of bacteria at a time.

The tool uses LED lights to excite fluorescent proteins found in bacteria. It then wirelessly sends data to researchers studying how cells respond to antibiotics over time.

The PFIbox's nine structural parts can be 3-D printed in about a day, snap together in minutes, and cost about $200.

"3-D printing is allowing us to create tools and instrumentation that simply don't exist yet," says infectious disease researcher Eric Brown, who led the work on the project, along with Shawn French and Brittney Coutts. "Here, we have designed and built an absolutely cutting-edge lab instrument for about $200. It's simply game-changing for our work to discover new ."

The researchers have made the PFIbox's code open source and available to anyone who wants to use them.

"We fully expect—in fact, we hope—people take the code for this tool and improve upon it," says French. "We want people to have full access to what we think is a very important new development in the battle against superbugs."

The research was published Aug. 29 in the journal Cell Systems.


Explore further

One-two punch may floor worst infections

Journal information: Cell Systems

Citation: Access to 3-D printing is changing the work in research labs (2018, August 29) retrieved 23 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-access-d-labs.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
4 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more