Innovation Ecosystems: Benjamin Kline on the reproducibility and accessibility of science

By: Eleonore Pauwels and Kunj Bhatt

Pretend you are a lab scientist whose work day starts and ends by spending hours pipetting fluids from one container to another. Now imagine a world in which you have access to experimental data without actually performing the experiment giving you endless free time to work on other projects.

Benjamin Kline, who works at Emerald Therapeutics, saw a problem in the way researchers around the world conducted experiments. In order to work on a single project, researchers had to have multiple degrees, government grants, enough lab space, sufficient equipment, and lots of lab assistants. This is just for one project in one lab. Imagine the laboratory next door spending time and money on the exact same equipment.

Emerald Therapeutics is a biotechnology startup company in the heart of Silicon Valley that prides itself on using robotic technology to execute simple yet tedious experiments such as counting cells or pipetting. Researchers from anywhere in the world can choose from a list of experiments such as UV/Vis spectroscopy, Flow Cytometry, and western blot, enter their own parameters, and essentially design their own experiments. The robots at Emerald Therapeutics then read the parameters, automatically conduct the experiment, and enter the data into a cloud based system that the researchers have access to. Researchers not only have access to the data from the experiment, but also information regarding the equipment used as well as other research articles that are related to experiment. Emerald Therapeutics allows scientists from around the world to have more power and control over their work without having them leave the comfort of their own desk.

Emerald Therapeutics was created on the basis to revolutionize the process of experimentation. Kline believed that there was a more cost effective and efficient way that would save time and money for the researcher. Because mass robots are executing these experiments, researchers no longer have to worry about human error, thus allowing them to easily replicate experiments that will yield accurate data. Furthermore, with the cost of an experiment averaging about $25, researchers are now granted the flexibility and freedom to spend the remaining time and money on more complicated and intricate projects.

Just like if you want to rent a movie on Amazon or Google Play for a couple of bucks, you now have the ability to rent equipment from Emerald Therapeutics. What is unique about Emerald Therapeutics is that it simplifies and streamlines the scientific process. When you open the Emerald Therapeutics website, you read, “Developed by scientists for scientists.” This is the perfect reflection of an innovative, crowdsourcing service that fosters collaboration, user empowerment, and sustainability.