First PocketPCR workshop at Universidad Nacional de San Martín

Hello everyone!

An update on this workshop was due. A couple months ago the Biotech students from UNSAM got hands-on experience with open-source hardware thermocyclers for PCR.

There were three major wins, that would not have happened without the grant:

  1. The students actually used the thermocyclers, instead of observing a trained assistant set the one upstairs to the proper parameters.
  2. The students and professors were introduced to open science hardware, which was unknown to them before the main talk.
  3. The professors want to keep using the OScH thermocyclers in future lessons.

The experience gave us a few key observations about OSH and the classroom, which are interesting to consider:

  1. The professors observed that the students were much more excited during the lesson, because they were able to interact with the hardware directly, working in groups (7-8 students per device).
  2. Even though the cyclers did not perform (i.e. DNA was amplified in the lab’s old cycler and the Pocket’s didn’t), they will continue to use the devices because they are fantastic for teaching.

This workshop was funded by the first GOSH microgrant programme: USD 500 microgrants available for workshops, short courses

Here are a couple photos of willing-to-be-photographed students, preparing PCR reactions at the teaching lab:

Those Pockets were the only cyclers in the room, and possibly the only commercial OScH in the institute.

Future work involves:

  • Optimizing reaction conditions on the Pockets (@gaudi has already suggested that good temperature control not trivial) to match the expected results.
  • Attempting to manufacture Pockets in latam, at a lower cost (mostly due to avoiding import duties, and a bit due to adapting the hardware).
  • Integrating the Pocket to the Pipettin Bot. :robot:

Cheers to all!