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Earlham Biofoundry

Working with us

We welcome all enquiries from academia and industry. We would be happy to provide our expertise and facilities for the development of customized workflows or automation training.

Platform Lead:

Carolina Grandellis, Earlham Biofoundry Manager

Earlham Biofoundry Logo

The Earlham Biofoundry is strategically supported by BBSRC, part of UKRI, through the National Bioscience Research Infrastructure.

Access technical and scientific expertise

The Earlham Biofoundry is a resource for the UK biology and biotechnology communities, providing a platform to undertake large-scale projects.

We house suites of laboratory automation that, together with our expertise in large-scale experimentation and synthetic biology, can be applied to numerous molecular and microbiological workflows.

Synthetic Biology applies engineering principles such as standardisation and modularisation to biological sciences through the application of iterative design-build-test-learn cycles (DBTL). The standardisation of biological components and reactions allows experimental workflows to be automated.

This offers the potential to revolutionise the speed and scale of research, increasing accuracy and allowing miniaturisation to reduce costs. The adoption of these principles and approaches enables scientists to pursue complex experimental designs.

Established automated workflows are available to researchers across academia and industry and can be requested as a service. Alternatively, we can work collaboratively, contributing our scientific expertise and technical knowledge to develop new methods, automate, and scale up workflows, applying synthetic biology approaches to scientific problems.

We also provide training in laboratory automation through practical training sessions, laboratory placements, training courses and by hosting collaborators.

Service workflows

We make our automation methods and protocols available to the bioscience community on GitHub.

We offer access to a number of highly-optimised automated workflows on a fee-for-service basis. These are performed on our state-of-the-art automation platforms including:

  • Nanoscale DNA assembly, including combinatorial libraries (scroll down for more information about this service)
  • Validation of DNA assemblies by sequencing
  • Bacterial transformation
  • Colony picking and arraying
  • DNA purification, quantification and normalisation
  • High-throughput microfermentation
  • Automated high-throughput DNA electrophoresis (eGels)
  • Sample and stock curation, storage and retrieval
  • Nanoscale PCR, qPCR and Nucleic Acid clean-up
  • Cell free protein systems (CFPS)

Our automation platforms

Collaborative projects

We specialise in the rapid design, construction, and testing of genetically reprogrammed organisms.

However, we have worked on a range of different projects contributing our expertise in laboratory automation and synthetic biology approaches, experimentation to optimise experiment design, increase throughput, reduce reaction volumes and improve reproducibility.

We have worked with a range of different partners in academia and industry.

DNA Assembly

Parallel DNA assembly methods allow multiple fragments of DNA to be compiled in a desired order in a single reaction.

Several methods enable the efficient one‐step assembly of multiple DNA parts into a suitable plasmid acceptor at high efficiency. These allow multiple plasmids housing standardized DNA parts of interest are combined in an enzyme cocktail.

The Earlham Biofoundry can work with most assembly methods and plasmid toolkits. Please note, to use plasmids provided by a third party you will require an MTA with the originating party. We have completed projects using the following toolkits.

Publication: Dudley, Quentin M et al. “Biofoundry-assisted expression and characterization of plant proteins.” Synthetic biology (Oxford, England) vol. 6,1 ysab029. 11 Sep. 2021, doi:10.1093/synbio/ysab029

Access to the standard DNA assebly yet to be confirmed.

Plasmids available from Addgene: In process

Publication(s): Storch, Marko et al. “BASIC: A New Biopart Assembly Standard for Idempotent Cloning Provides Accurate, Single-Tier DNA Assembly for Synthetic Biology.” ACS synthetic biology vol. 4,7 (2015): 781-7. doi:10.1021/sb500356d 

Storch, Marko et al. “BASIC: A Simple and Accurate Modular DNA Assembly Method.” Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) vol. 1472 (2017): 79-91. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-6343-0_6 


Click here to access to the registry of standard DNA parts.

Plasmids available from Addgene

Mobius Assembly Andreou A and Nakayama (2018) 16 parts 

Publication: Mobius Assembly - PubMed (

Addgene: Addgene: Mobius Assembly Vector Toolkit

Working with the Earlham Institute allows us to really quickly scale up our Research and Development, this way we have the right people to not just help us do it but teach us how to do it better.

Orr Yarkoni, CEO, Colorifix