Robotic course laboratory arousing international interest


When the first images from Uppsala University's robotic course laboratory reached the Internet, they quickly went viral. Today, the course Laboratory Automation in Life Sciences provides a unique opportunity to build the skills the pharmaceutical industry needs to utilize its investments in the new technology.

Robotic course laboratory

The robots have entered the pharmaceutical laboratories and they are here to stay. The prospect of employees who never get sick or demand to work from home is attractive to the international industry, which is investing huge resources in automating its processes. The way forward is wide open with one small exception: The lack of competence to operate the technology.

“After three years of preparations, we inaugurated our robotic course laboratory in autumn 2022 and the premiere can only be described as fantastic: Our social media basically exploded when we posted videos from inside the lab. Researchers from all over the world want to visit our environment and the first students on our new course Laboratory Automation in Life Sciences loved it from the very first moment,” says Jordi Carreras Puigvert, course leader at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Training underwayThe laboratory, built by Professor Ola Spjuth's research group in Pharmaceutical Bioinformtics, holds up to fifteen students working in parallel at five stations, each complete with a robotic arm, a liquid handling instrument and an automated microscope developed in collaboration with Stanford University.

 “The first time we saw the robots perform the tasks we normally have to do ourselves was really a cool moment. Just a few weeks later, we were designing our own experiments where we, with relatively short preparation, programmed the machines to handle most of the steps in a significantly more efficient way than we could manage ourselves,” says student David Devenfors.

Today, both the course laboratory at the Uppsala Biomedical Center and the five-week training are unique in their kind. The financial resources that a robotic environment require are often beyond the scope of academia, but by building with loose components and open source methodology, the team has created a cost-effective infrastructure where the employees carry out both maintenance and development.

“This is undoubtedly the future. Students of life sciences will need these skills when they enter working life. The industry must have it today. What we provide should be included in every education, but we do not have that capacity yet. Hopefully, similar environments will open within a five-year period, and until then our course will put a silver lining to every CV,” says Jordi Carreras Puigvert.



  • The course is given in Autumn and Spring term
  • Teaching takes place full-time, on campus and in English



Jordi Carreras PuigvertJordi Carreras Puigvert, course leader
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences

text: Magnus Alsne, pfoto: Mikael Wallerstedt

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Last modified: 2024-04-04