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Research technology news

A new software collaboration makes a vast range of biological databases more accessible for exploitation. Data mining and visualisation software created to help plant scientists trawl diverse biological databases for clues to design better crops can now support less specialist users and across a range of disciplines, including human disease research.

Imperial scientists have successfully taught robots to perform a challenging brain technique only previously mastered by a handful of humans. Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, or whole-cell recording (WCR), is the gold-standard technique for studying the behaviour of brain cells called neurons under different brain states such as stress or learning.

A state-of-the-art robotics suite, worth over £1 million, will enable scientists at the Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) Nottingham to engineer a number of bacterial strains and turbo charge the creation of valuable and novel chemicals and fuels from waste materials. “It’s a fantastic addition to our research capability because the robots will allow us to not only automate many routine procedures but carry out 100s of experiments in parallel - something we can’t do currently,” Nigel Minton, Director of the SBRC-Nottingham.