Two more fantastic podcast series. Recently I listened to Built with Biology: Spaces, sponsored by SynBioBeta. In this interview Fiona Mischel, the host, interviewed Masaki Yamada and Kris Tyner. Masaki is a Product Manager and Kris is a Senior Processing Engineer at Culture Biosciences. Culture Biosciences is a very interesting company that Masaki and Kris described as a company that does bioprocessing in the cloud. When I first heard that description I was confused—bioprocessing could not possibly be simulated, could it? Well, it turns out that the wet experiments still happen, but rather than happen within the buildings that belong to the clients of Culture Bioscience, the experiments happen in 250ml bioprocessors (the size of a coffee cup) at Culture Biosciences. And, in a page straight from a doggy daycare, each bioprocessor has a web camera trained on it so the scientist client can watch the reactions happen! Of course, along with the web cameras are multiple sensors tracking the experiment and sending the data to a dashboard accessible from a laptop.
Why is a company such as Culture Biosciences such a great idea? Well, there is A LOT of optimization that goes into taking a fortuitous experimental result into a scaled-up commercial reaction. And doing all those trials can take a lot of bioprocessing capacity that is expensive to invest in when optimizing is just a stage the process must go through, not the end result that is hopefully profitable. Enter Culture Biosciences—remote lab capabilities for bioprocessing in the cloud! You ship your materials to them and they run the experiments, even sometimes changing parameters on the fly based on your interpretation of the data that is streaming in. The results are easily available to inform the next round of experiments. Companies such as Pivot Bio and Joyn Bio work with Culture Bioscience as they pioneer the development of bacteria that will help farmers use less fertilizer.
The podcast was a great way to learn about a type of company I didn’t even know existed—I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the series.
The Built with Biology: Spotlight series asks the question “How can we build a better world with biology and who are the change-makers making it happen? Scientists, companies, and entrepreneurs are highlighted in these short (less than 5 minutes) snippets of innovation.
I listened to a podcast titled “How Spiber is Spinning Proteins into Spider Silk”—without the spiders. Given that spiders are NOT my favorite creature, I thought that was a good one to listen to. And, in fact, it was great…Spiber is a Japanese company that produces spider silk proteins by fermentation. Turns out spiders make more than one kind of silk, and it is both elastic and strong. But you really can’t harvest silk, so this seems like a great way to go. Spiber’s bio-material can be turned into everything from clothes to skateboards.
There are more Spotlights to listen to, and since they are short they fit well into a busy day so find a few minutes and listen in!
And when you want to try a different podcast, take a look at InnovATEBIO's blog: Podcasts on Science