DIY Open Hardware makes the front cover of Nature Biotechnology

Hi All

Great to see open hardware for science getting the spotlight!


Image credit: Katie M. Flynn and Ahmad (Mo) Khalil

Wong, B. G., Mancuso, C. P., Kiriakov, S., Bashor, C. J., & Khalil, A. S. (2018). Precise, automated control of conditions for high-throughput growth of yeast and bacteria with eVOLVER. Nature biotechnology.

Link to PDF from Nature


Precise control over microbial cell growth conditions could enable detection of minute phenotypic changes, which would improve our understanding of how genotypes are shaped by adaptive selection. Although automated cell-culture systems such as bioreactors offer strict control over liquid culture conditions, they often do not scale to high-throughput or require cumbersome redesign to alter growth conditions. We report the design and validation of eVOLVER, a scalable do-it-yourself (DIY) framework, which can be configured to carry out high-throughput growth experiments in molecular evolution, systems biology, and microbiology. High-throughput evolution of yeast populations grown at different densities reveals that eVOLVER can be applied to characterize adaptive niches. Growth selection on a genome-wide yeast knockout library, using temperatures varied over different timescales, finds strains sensitive to temperature changes or frequency of temperature change. Inspired by large-scale integration of electronics and microfluidics, we also demonstrate millifluidic multiplexing modules that enable multiplexed media routing, cleaning, vial-to-vial transfers and automated yeast mating.

Figure 1:


Looks like a really cool project, and it’s obvious from the 80 page supplementary file that a lot of work went into this! According to the paper:

eVOLVER is constructed using highly modular, open-source wetware, hardware, electronics, and web-based software that can be rapidly reconfigured for virtually any type of automated growth experiment

I couldn’t find links to any hardware design files, but there’s some source code on github and a website currently hosting pdf schematics of the hardware with a promise of more to come (including hardware and software to be released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license).