Engineering
Engineering

Robert Downs
Executive Director of Engineering, Informatics, and IT

The GNF Engineering Department is dedicated to the rapid conception, design, construction, and validation of advanced, high throughput automated biological discovery systems. Our mission is to amplify the capabilities and throughput of GNF’s researchers by many orders of magnitude, enabling them to think outside the box in addressing the scientific challenges that inspire them. It is our goal to become the gold standard of automated scientific instruments, and the technology we create is also geared for manufacture and sale to outside organizations.

We keep in mind that quantum leaps in scientific advances have often followed technological advances. At GNF, scientists not only have access to the latest in today’s technology, they also can work with the Engineering Department to come up with tomorrow’s technological solutions when the tools needed to solve their specific problems do not exist. We are confident, given the range of top level skill sets assembled in the GNF Engineering Department, that if a scientific need is presented, a technological solution will be forthcoming.

Not simply a design services group, the Engineering Department collaborates with the institute's research scientists and their colleagues to develop practical concepts from even the most preliminary ideas. From that point, the Engineering group develops detailed specifications that define the total program, then performs concept tests, produces designs, builds the working prototype, validates its operation, and assists the scientific collaborator in integrating the system into his/her scientific process.

With 45 full-time engineers and technicians, our group draws on our staff’s extensive experience in the automotive, manufacturing, machine tool, consulting, and biotech industries. The group’s talent in all disciplines of engineering—mechanical, electrical, structural, design, control, software, and process engineering—allows us to provide a comprehensive number of services on-site. These include computer-aided design and manufacturing, machine shop, electronics lab, machine assembly, and testing facilities. Our group is gaining a reputation for its speed, creativity, attention to detail, and, most importantly, high reliability in design and manufacturing.

In 2002, we expanded our parts fabrication and manufacturing capability with the launch of the GNF Systems Unit. GNF Systems was started to manufacture the fully developed products in our portfolio of systems for an expanding customer base—both inside and outside of the Novartis family of companies. Our 15,000 square-foot facility in Sorrento Valley has extensive in-house CNC machining capability along with welding, grinding, assembly, and testing capabilities.

To learn more about the GNF Sytems, please visit www.GNFSystems.com.

How the Engineering Process works at GNF