Albane Imbert is Head of the Making Lab at biomedical research centre The Francis Crick Institute, which provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art equipment and expert advice and instruction in the effective use of different technologies through its 15 science technology platforms.
Albane heads up one of these platforms – the Making Lab – where engineering approaches are integrated with biomedical research to create cutting-edge devices to accelerate scientific discovery.
In the Making Lab we design and fabricate custom-made tools for researchers, tailored to their particular experiments. The team’s main areas of expertise are electronics, mechanics, systems integration, microfabrication and microfluidics, but we have a very wide range of expertise so we are not limited to these areas.
The Making Lab specialises in creating ‘environments’ for researchers to test their questions, from mouse mazes to microenvironments at cell-scale that are made with state-of-the-art microfabrication tools. The team promotes strong collaborations between labs and facilities across the Crick, and provide training to contribute to the prototyping and open culture of research.
Researchers often are not aware of the technologies we have available because they have come from a biology background, not engineering or technology, so we provide a lot of expertise and guidance about different approaches and equipment they could use.
Albane trained as an engineer and industrial designer, which she says has given her a good understanding of both the design and manufacturing process. She has worked in research and industry.
I have always been interested in how engineering and industrial design can benefit scientific research. The Crick’s structure is a real catalyst for bringing experts together from different areas and collaborating. It means we can explore completely new questions to support both Crick labs and UK research.
Last updated: 28 July 2021