Automated GSIS Assay 

Justin Kuan, Eric Lyall, Benjamin McMaster, Alexander Jake Moersch, Bruno Ozaki

  • Community Partner: Aspect Biosystems
  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program: Biomedical Engineering
  • Campus: Vancouver

Our project 

We focused on the automation of a highly time-consuming assay procedure for the quality assurance pipeline of 3D printed pancreatic tissue. We aimed to provide a consistent and customizable proof of concept that could be used in a research lab setting at any stage and scale of production. This meant creating a solution that could validate printing parameters in development to quality testing batches for in-vivo implantation. 

Our inspiration 

Type 1 diabetes affects millions of people globally. This project aims to be a step forward - in a journey of many steps - for developing a game-changing therapeutic to help patients with type 1 diabetes. This project also had a well-defined scope, a myriad of tough engineering challenges, and a supportive client that members of our team had worked with before. As such, it was a great opportunity to learn new skills, experience real-world engineering problems, and build something meaningful.  

Our biggest challenge 

The automation of any human task can be an expensive and challenging endeavour, let alone a task performed in a high-maintenance environment. One of the biggest challenges our team faced during our project was figuring out how to create a device that would not only mimic the actions of a skilled technician in a wet lab but also function and maintain the conditions of the lab. This includes being subject to the humidity of an incubator, sterilization procedures in a biosafety cabinet, and the high temperature and pressure of an autoclave.  

What excited us most 

When we finished integrating all our subsystems together to create a fully functional device for our proof of concept! Not only was it exciting seeing all the work done over the past year come to fruition, but seeing the device work in its entirety was almost surreal, knowing what it took to get there.  

The most interesting/surprising thing we learned 

We learned a lot about the complexities of the integration of subcomponents of the system and how important it is to test. We also realized how important it is to iterate in the design process as it is very common for requirements to evolve over time. 

Our project's future 

Further development of our proof of concept to get it ready for live samples!  

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