The CRoss-InstitutE Advanced Tissue Engineering (CREATE) Lab is a new core facility dedicated to biofabrication of advanced 3D tissues and microfluidic devices. It houses state-of-the-art equipment for 3D bio-printing, microfabrication, and device analysis. The aim of the CREATE Lab is to support the development of next-generation 3D tissues and disease models for use in biomedical research and regenerative medicine.
As a cross-faculty initiative, the CREATE Lab was established through the Queen Mary Strategic Facilities Investment Fund and support from the Barts Charity. It is open to all Queen Mary researchers and external partners, with a view to promoting cutting-edge interdisciplinary research.
The CREATE Lab is now open and available for new biofabrication projects.
The 3D Discovery Biosafety system is an advanced 3D printer enclosed within a class II biosafety cabinet. The system can be configured with up to 4 print heads, including syringe based extrusion, micro-valve droplet dispensing, and thermopolymer extrusion. The system also provides temperature control for print heads and the printing platform, as well as a UV tool for photo-crosslinking and curing. Printer operation and construct design is controlled through the external computer and CAD/CAM software.
The CREATE Lab houses a suite of equipment for photolithography and fabrication of microfluidic devices. Key pieces of equipment include a spin coater (SPIN150i, SPS), UV masking system (KUB-6, Kloe), hot plates, and plasma oxidiser (Zepto, Henniker). In addition, the lab provides an optical profilometer (Profilm 3D, Filmetrics) for characterisation of device surfaces, and syringe pumps for introduction of dynamic fluid flow.
Based within the Barts Cancer Institute, the CellCelector is an automated imaging, analysis, and liquid handling system for processing of single cells or multi-cell populations. The system employs two-colour fluorescence and phase contrast image analysis for automated detection of defined cellular phenotypes and robotic capillary tool for isolation and downstream processing.
Facility staff will provide all necessary training and technical support for users to operate the 3D printing and microfabrication equipment. This includes formal training sessions, one-on-one support, and training manuals and documentation.
The CREATE Lab team can also assist with new project development, including biomaterial selection, construct design, and optimisation of biofabrication processes. In addition, we can advise and consult on the technical aspects and costings for research proposals involving biofabrication technologies.
The CREATE Lab includes dedicated cell culture facilities for users to maintain and propagate cells to be used in their 3D bio-printing and microfluidic applications.
All new users are encouraged to first discuss project plans with either the Academic Lead or Research Engineer for the CREATE Lab prior to commencement of new research projects.
To access the CREATE Lab facilities, users must complete a health and safety induction for the Blizard Institute and receive formal training from the lab’s research engineer. Users will only be allowed to operate the equipment independently when they have satisfactorily completed the training programme.
Equipment is bookable through an on-line booking system. Users will be charged for usage of standard consumables (syringes, needles, cell culture supplies), while specialised biomaterials or supplies should be provided by the users themselves.
*Note: The CellCelector is located at the Barts Cancer Institute on the Charterhouse Square Campus. Details for access and training coming soon.