Engineering Biology

Engineering biology has the potential to offer solutions to a range of societal challenges, including food, biomedicines, clean growth, and the environment. Standards and metrology (measurement science) are critical to creating more reliable engineering biology products, services, and production processes, helping to de-risk innovation and facilitate translation into industry.

At the NML, we are currently working with UKRI BBSRC-funded centres across the community to embed metrology and standards into engineering biology, including investigating the potential to develop a standard on considerations for RNA quantification methods for gene expression analysis in biological systems. A fundamental part of this UKRI BBSRC-funded project is focused around developing training materials to support the next generation of engineering biology researchers.

Fundamentals of Metrology Training course

For emerging sectors such as engineering biology to reach their full potential, it is essential that the principles of metrology are understood and implemented.

Metrology is simply the science of measurement. Every day, millions of measurements are made globally, and their results underpin international trade, support manufacturing, enable effective medical treatments, are crucial to research and development, and protect consumers and the environment. To enable sound decisions to be taken, these results need to be reliable.

Only with reliable data can new technologies be translated effectively, efficiently and safely from the laboratory to the market-place to improve wellbeing, and encourage and de-risk innovation for novel products and processes.

We have developed a bespoke ‘Fundamentals in Metrology’ training course for Masters and PhD students and other early careers scientists working in engineering biology. The course aims to upskill the community and equip a new generation of researchers with the knowledge to deliver more robust, reproducible science in engineering biology. The first iteration of this course was delivered at the University of Bristol on 31 August 2023.

Metrology webinar series

To support a wider cohort of early career academic researchers in engineering biology, we have developed a three-part webinar series that will support researchers to of commonly used techniques to aid in creating more robust and reliable methods. This series was created after surveying the needs of BBSRC funded research centres to address and embed metrology for early career researchers covering the most widely used techniques.

The first edition of the series, released in October 2023, provides guidance on “Maximising the performance of immunoassays”. This entailed a series of initiating with a general overview of plate-based assays, with particular emphasis on performing immunoassays in a robust manner.  The process of immunoassay construction and appropriate data handling were also addressed. Additionally, a novel generic methodology for immunoassays was introduced to improve immunoassay sensitivity and overcome issues with biological matrix effects. Recordings of these webinars can be viewed and downloaded here.

Part two and three of the webinar series - on Flow Cytometry and qPCR respectively - will be available in November 2023 and January 2024.

To find out more about this project and our wider work in the engineering biology sector, contact us on measurement@lgcgroup.com