List of questions

The foundation of the AIMday concept is to match questions from industry with relevant research competence. These questions are made the subject for discussions in small, multi-disciplinary groups with one hour per question.

You can hear from previous AIMday participants in here. If you have any questions, please email organisers at

Croda Europe Ltd (in-person attendance)
  • 5222

    What affect do pesticides have on soil microbiomes and can the biome be helped by other external materials?

    Croda have a key pillar of soil health and we are interested in exploring how pesticides effect soil microbiome and if our materials can help/boost the soil microbiome and improve plant nutrition and yield.

  • 5225

    What does research suggest around whether biopolymers can replace traditional acrylics whilst maintaining performance?

    Sustainable polymers is a key area of focus for Croda and we are interested in replacing traditional petrochemical and non-biodegradable materials such as acrylics with more sustainable versions and particularly biopolymers.

  • 5245

    What does research suggest around whether currently used monomers such as acrylic acid/styrene can be produced via microbe synthesis?

    Related to sustainable polymers as acrylics are well known and have high performance can the sustainability profile of a polymer be improved by producing acrylic monomers via microbial growth as opposed to extraction from petrochemical sources.

Fertility Genomics (in-person attendance)
  • 5228

    How can we speed up the process of genomic DNA data analysis, so we can get actionable results to our patient’s faster.

    Fertility Genomics offers whole exome sequencing for couples attending IVF clinics. Our preferred customers are those that have failed at least one round of IVF as they are most likely to have an underlying genetic reason for their infertility. The patient’s only have to supply us with a saliva sample, which we then send to Eurofins in Berlin, for DNA extraction and exome sequencing. This data is then sent to us for further analysis, which is the slowest point of the process. In addition we have developed an in house secret statistic known as a fertility probability score, which calculates a risk score for continual IVF failure. Patients with a high score for particular variants are advised to switch to one of two direct sperm injection methods known as ICSI or enhanced ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection). Directing the infertile couple speedily to the most appropriate method can save them the needless heartache of failed IVF or ICSI cycles.

Green Bioactives Ltd (online participation on 8 December 2022)
  • 5219

    How would AI/Machine-learning facilitate/contribute to the bio-engineering of plant/plant cells?

    To enhance metabolite production in the plant cell, up-regulating enzyme expression or down-regulating competitive pathway is the common strategy. However, due to the complexity of the plant metabolism pathway, manipulating one aspect of the pathway may result in unexpected consequences in others, e.g. poor growth, toxicity, etc. Can AI/Machine-learning approach be able to guide the bio-engineering approach to be more precise and effective?

IBioIC – Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (in-person attendance)
  • 5110

    How do you quantify sustainability during research / process development?

    In particular how do you measure predicted carbon emissions associated with a new product / process in development. How do measure other measures of sustainability? How do you compare your new “improved” process / product to traditional processes/products. Essentially all of these: How do you quantify the sustainability improvement that will occur for the science/process/product you are developing.

    IBioIC are more interested in carbon accounting with this question rather than analysis / monitoring of processes (although they are also interested in that).

  • 5456

    What are the biggest barriers you face with scaling-up your lab process e.g equipment, expertise, reproducibility, regulation, collaboration, funding? What would help overcome these barriers?

    At IBioIC, we have a scale-up centre (FlexBio) designed to help bridge the gap between lab scale and pilot scale bioprocesses. We would like to know what the biggest challenges are with scale-up and how are equipment and expertise could help.

Impact Solutions (in-person attendance)
  • 5216

    What are the cost implications regarding the cultivation of biomass (e.g. yeast, algae) and what are the different factors that can drive these down so that it can be effectively par or out compete the petrochemical industry in order to facilitate the transition towards using industrial biotechnology as a standard method for production of materials we currently do from oil?

    We don’t have any particular biomass targeted at the moment, but we are aware of some of the popular ones in the industry such as yeast and algae for example – so reference to those will be equally useful. We are interested in factors like CAPEX (capital expenditures) and OPEX (operating expenses) for different alternatives to begin with. Policy restrictions are also of interest as these will play part in the feasibility of replacing petrochemicals with biomass.

    Impact Solutions is a unique business where we are a UKAS accredited testing laboratory at the same time with an R&D department looking at development in sustainability. The company has also a successful tracking history at launching technologies and spinning out enterprises in the sustainability sector (Impact Recycling and ReVentas). The company is now interested in expanding its capability by immersing itself in the realms of industrial biotechnology as part of the ethos we preach; we are now capable in biodegradation testing, and we are also a member of the IBioIC.

  • 5242

    What new insights from research can inform updates to Bioreactor designs as they have largely been the same since the 80s?

    Impact Solutions is looking to invest into capabilities in Industrial Biotechnology as part of the business development. Bioreactors are known to facilitate and contribute a large part to this but they are also relatively expensive and high maintenance. Designs have seen little changes since the 80s period. Areas of design that current research is targeting, and reasons, to improve bioreactors are of interest to us, as this can explain to us what are the limitations restricted by current designs and what potential advances can we expect within the industry

Modern Synthesis (online participation)
  • 5138

    (online) Q1: How would you model biomaterial properties based on first order interactions between biopolymers from a Design Of Experiments perspective?

    Background: The question is about the most efficient way to combine modelling and experimental design to iterate efficiently and make progress faster. We are interested in Design Of Experiments modelling and generating algorithms that will allow us to predict material behaviour in a simulation environment. We aim to improve the mechanical properties of the material: flexibility & tear strength are 2 of the key ones.

    Q2: How do you optimise cellulose-cellulose interactions?

    Background: The application is clothing and we want to optimise cellulose-cellulose interactions in order to improve adhesion.