OpenPlant Fund is closing on Sunday so if you want to get £5000 for a synthetic biology/open hardware related project now is the time to start writing your proposal! At least one team member has to be at the University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre or Earlham Institute.
A few of us are putting together a proposal on open source enzyme production and purification using 3D-printing and automation, if this sounds of interest let me know!
The number of openly licensed and off-patent enzymes for molecular biology is growing rapidly. However, legal rights to reuse and redistribute enzymes are insufficient when practical routes for global access to the biological materials are not in place. Local manufacturing and purification of proteins may overcome some constraints and make reagents more affordable for researchers in resource-constrained contexts, from low income countries to community laboratories and small companies. Synthetic biology techniques combined with automation now allow rapid combinatorial testing of biological constructs which we will harness to select optimised pairings of off-patent binding domains and substrates for column or well-based enzyme purification.
Specifically, we will use a 96-well 3D-printed reaction chamber (designed by Clayton Rabideau and supported by the OpenPlant Fund in 2017) as a semi-automated combinatorial testing device for a curated collection of off-patent enzymes for basic molecular and synthetic biology applications. The enzymes will be tagged with the off-patent binding domains and column-purified using a variety of affordable materials. The affinity, yield and purity data will then be openly published online. The most successful binding domain and substrate combinations will form the basis of a follow-on project to develop lower-cost protocols for manufacture and distribution and to assess the economic feasibility of distributed manufacturing of research enzymes.