One last blogpost from your favourite employee #3

One last blogpost from your favourite employee #3

Introduction

With the end of September approaching, we're on track to soon assemble and send off our first batch of Pioreactors and it also marks the end of my internship! In this blog post, I'll discuss my experiences over the summer and announce some fun projects we've completed in the last few weeks. 

My time at Pioreactor has been one of the best job experiences I've had (and I'm really not just saying that!) This is my first time working in a small business/startup, and the most wonderful part of startups is having new topics to explore everyday at a self-directed pace. And we really covered a large range of topics in my time here! Let's go through some recent developments: 

3D print design + assembly

Recently, we updated our vial holders inspired by an existing print design, making a more modular storage system for the Pioreactor and its attachments. 

 

Figure 1: A new storage system for our Pioreactor, vials, and additional attachments. 

The smaller slots for vials also double as peristaltic pump holders. It's much easier to determine the flow of media using this configuration, as added media and waste removal will follow a clockwise flow using this setup. 

 

Figure 2: Pumps fit in the same slots as vials. The arrows show the flow of media through the system, with added media on the left and waste removal on the right. 

Research + experiment design

My main goal for the term was populating the experiment page on our documentation site. I've added 9 new experiments with result analysis ranging from secondary level to research and beyond! 

 

Figure 3: Nine new experiments populating our experiment documentation page. 

Each experiment looks at algae and different yeast and bacteria species, but are interchangeable enough that any combination of microorganism and media can be explored. We hope you draw inspiration from our basic ideas and continue to explore your own questions on cellular growth. 

Product marketing

Both for our documentation and main website, we invested in a photo box to take professional images. To post-process our images, I learned the basics of Photoshop to edit backgrounds. 

 

Figure 4: New images on our main site with some familiar hands. 

Also, excitingly: 

 

@pioreactor Grow your cultures, get results, and repeat. 👩‍🔬 Available in late 2022! #Pioreactor #science #sciencetok #research #bioreactor #raspberrypi #startup ♬ Sunny Day - Ted Fresco

 

Figure 5: Our first Pioreactor TikTok video. 

We made a TikTok, @pioreactor! Hope you follow us! :)

The cherry on top: practising Python

I'm excited to share my most recent set of code: a data analysis utility tool using Python! This script allows users to easily manipulate Pioreactor export data for data analysis and publications. 

 

Figure 6: Export options on the Pioreactor web interface. 

On the export tab of our web interface, you're given an option to download individual datasets (ex. implied growth rate, optical density). Each 'checkbox' will export a separate .csv file containing all data for the activity you selected. While useful in some cases, it can be cumbersome to compare activity data since it's not divided up by Pioreactor units. 

 

Figure 7: An export .csv file with all information for OD readings on all units in a cluster. Exported using the 'Optical density' option. 

Instead, we recommend you choose a new export option that combines all your important data against a single timeline. We call this the 'Pioreactor Unit Activity Data'. Select this option to download one .csv file that contains activity information for each cluster unit. 

 

Figure 8: An export .csv file of all activity information from one unit, exported using the option 'Pioreactor Unit Activity Data'. A much more useful export file for data analysis. 

Then use our Python script to easily create subplots of your Pioreactor unit data! These can be customized to your liking by adjusting the time range, figure sizes, and themes. Check out the repository for more information on how to use the utility. 

 

Figure 9: Subplots created using the Pioreactor Unit Activity export files. 

Conclusion

These developments are only a surface representation of the ideas I learned during this internship. It's exciting to think about the prospects of technology, and what Pioreactor has to offer in the biological sphere (and that I contributed to its progress!). Once it's released, I'm sure the Pioreactor will have a large impact on students and researchers alike. 

Lastly, and most importantly, I spent the last 4 months working directly with incredibly smart and passionate people. I'd like to thank Cam & Evan for giving me the opportunity to work with them and offering their mentorship (and for all the free office snacks!). The progress we've all made in the time I've worked here is incredible. I can't wait to see what Pioreactor will become in the near future!