New experiences and successes
In the lab, the robot prototype works and moves the samples around. However, the platform is not yet fully ready for the market. Axelrod says that while they can offer initial services by making sent-in tissue transparent in an automated way and quickly producing a labelled 3D image, they still need to optimise the software.
The two researchers also face challenges of a different kind as part of their Pioneer Fellowship, which is intended to lead to the founding of a start-up: “As a scientist, you have a different mindset when it comes to things like time management. Researchers are often perfectionists, because they don’t publish anything until it’s absolutely perfect and tested.” But this project is allowing Catto and Axelrod to take their first steps in the world of start-ups, where they have to try out more, get feedback and go through fast, iterative cycles. “This has a major impact on time management,” Catto says.
Catto and Axelrod cite their fantastic team as one of their biggest successes so far. Finding people with the right technical and social skills to get the team dynamic the two researchers wanted was a new experience for them both. Carrying out the full procedure for the first time was also an important technical milestone.