Tuesday 22, May 2018

Lab Facility

ASCUS Lab is a facility where anyone has the opportunity to access lab equipment, expertise and support for experimentation in art and science. In our lab we provide a wide variety of resources and equipment that have been gathered through generous donations via the UoE’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability department and Warp It redistribution network. Scroll down or click here to read more about the key equipment we have already.

For our own year round programme, we work with artists and scientists. We collaborate on all stages of development and delivery of our innovative art-science workshop programme that strives to be informative, engaging, creative and fun. Scroll down to see how you can work with us and access our lab facility…


To date, ASCUS has a strong track record working in partnership with academics, charities, research centres, festivals, scientists and artists. We are always on the look out for new working partners to develop our programme, in order to achieve our vision of building appreciation for and participation in the fields of art and science. To do this we depend on public engagement funding initiatives to enable us to develop creative and innovative ways to bring the arts and sciences to public audiences. This also enables us is to take a thorough and considered approach to ensure that all our activities have a real impact on audiences across Scotland.
If you have an idea for an art-science lab based project in our lab facility, or you would like to work with us to develop something together, then please do get in touch at lab@ascus.org.uk. Scroll down to read more about the specialist lab equipment that we already have.

Public Engagement Training

If you are an academic/researcher/PhD candidate and you are new to public engagement why not work with us through our art-science workshop programme to get practical experience in communicating your research. Through this programme, you will get the opportunity to collaborate with an artist and deliver your own art-science workshop, based around your research, to the ASCUS Lab Community. You will work with an artist in the development stages providing the unique opportunity for knowledge exchange, shared learning and creative experimentation. Along with ASCUS Lab technician, our skilled team will provide support through every stage of this process. This service is also somthing we can provide under public engagement funding initiatives.
We also run a programme of public workshops year round, as well as during the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which enables us to provide opportunities for new, wider and targeted non-science audiences. Check out what we got up to in the ASCUS Lab for ESIF 2016.

Lab Open Sessions

Alongside our skills workshops programme we regularily run ASCUS Lab Open Sessions. We are first trialed our Open Sessions Programme in July 2016 and are running our second round of Open Sessions throughout Novemeber-December 2016. Check out our Lab Open Sessions page for more details. Open Sessions are self-led and are designed to provide space for artists, scientists and the general public to do independent experimentation in a real lab setting. During these Open Sessions each individual will have access to lab bench space and specialist equipment. Our lab technician will be on hand to offer advise but one-to-one training is only available outside of Open Session times.

ASCUS Lab Equipment Resources

As a non-profit organisation dedicated to public engagement in the arts and sciences, we depend on the ongoing and generous support of our partners. We are always looking for new equipment, consumables and lab donations to enable the work and research of our community and to facilitate our innovative programme of art-science public engagement activities. Please contact us at lab@ascus.org.uk if you have equipment or consumables you would like to donate, check out our lab wish list on our donate page for more details.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the individual researchers at the University of Edinburgh and in particular Warp It and the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Department of the University of Edinburgh for their ongoing support. Please see below for key equipment we have that enables us to deliver lab-based activities around Microscopy, microbiology and DNA analysis in ASCUS Lab. We see this as just the beginning of what our lab facility will be able to do, so watch this space!

ASCUS Lab Key Equipment

In ASCUS Lab we have a good range of all the necessary consumables, glassware and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that are necessary for general lab work. We also have a range of upright microscopes, some of which are equipped for polarised light, phase contrast, differential interference contrast (DIC) and Hoffman modulation contrast (HMC) microscopy. Others specialise in darkfield, oil immersion, and fluorescent microscopy techniques. We also have two inverted microscopes available which allow for the direct observation of living samples, which otherwise would be characterized by poor contrast. Please find below a selection of the other specialist equipment accessible in ASCUS Lab.



In the lab we have a range of micro pipettes in various sizes. *A pipette is a laboratory tool commonly used to transport a measured volume of liquid
*an apparatus for measuring the intensity of light in a part of the spectrum, especially as transmitted or emitted by particular substances
*Micro Centrifuge
*A centrifuge is a piece of equipment that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis (spins it in a circle), applying a potentially strong force pendicular to the axis of spin (outward)
*Fraction Collector
*Fraction Collector
*A fraction collector is a necessity for any preparative liquid chromatography work, to collect the different materials you so carefully separated chromatographically in separate containers
*Opitical Microscopes
*A microscope is an optical instrument used for viewing very small objects, such as mineral samples or animal or plant cells, typically magnified several hundred times
pH Meter
*pH Meter
*A pH meter is a scientific instrument that measures the hydrogen-ion concentration (or pH) in a solution, indicating its acidity or alkalinity
Water bath
*Water baths
We currently have two water baths in ASCUS Lab, one large and one small.
*A water bath is used to incubate samples in water at a constant temperature over time
X-Ray Lightbox02
*X-Ray Lightboxes
We currently have two vertical X-Ray Lightboxes in ASCUS Lab
*A X-Ray Lightbox is a translucent surface illuminated from behind
Lab slicer
*A microtome is a tool used to cut extremely thin slices of material, known as sections used in microscopy
*PCR Machines
We have multiple PCR machines for use in ASCUS Lab
*A PCR machine is a laboratory apparatus most commonly used to amplify segments of DNA
ASCUS Lab is supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award
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