Who Uses eCAT

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Matt Nicotra at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Starzl Transplant Center talks about how using eCAT helped him to get organized.

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

“Before using eCAT I would keep my data for experiments in various places.  I had my paper notebook at the bench with written notes and gel images and other pieces of data — printouts taped in various places.  And then on my computer I’d have folders for every experiment with Excel spreadsheets and data files and digital images and other data.  It was really a challenge to go back a month later or so and try to remember how all those pieces of data related to each other.  So I’d open a folder and try to figure out which Excel spreadsheet had the data I wanted, where exactly did that image come from and when did I take it.  Using eCAT has helped with keeping all that stuff organized because I can have one page with all my notes on an experiment.  Imported into that are  my digital images.  I can link to Excel spreadsheets, I can link to other experiments, I can link to data files, and it’s all right there.  I don’t have to speand any time figuring out where anything is. I use eCAT five to six times a day if not more to upload data images and keep track of my experiments, write notes ,and  plan experiments for the future.

The thing I like best about eCAT is its very simple to use.  I looked at some other electronic lab notebooks and they were complicated or overly designed.  eCAT has a very simple interface.  It’s very flexible so I can just go in and immediately start writing my lab notebook the way I used to with a paper lab notebook.  It’s simple, I don’t have to spend any time figuring it out.  And I can get to it from anywhere.  So if I’m home or in the lab or somewhere else I can get to my data at any time.”

Professor Larry Gonzalez at the University of Oklahoma talks about how he uses eCAT in his work, which involves using a variety of techniques, ranging from behavioral measurements to in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, toinvestigate the effects of chronic drug exposure on brain function.

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

“Myself or a research technician or a post doctoral fellow can generate a protocol and store it in eCAT.  We can create the data forms that can be filled out manually and entered during an experiment, and we can link to external files.  And if someone would prefer to use another program like Excel to generate spreadsheets instead of entering data into eCAT they can create a spreadsheet and we can link to that file, and its all kept together and organized well in eCAT.  And then when an experiment is completed we’re able to export the data to an external statistical data program for subsequent analysis. Because it’s accessible over the internet eCAT is easy to view, from my office or my lab, or at home.  eCAT does most of the things I am interested in doing with an electronic lab notebook.  It helps keep me organized, and it’s very good at increasing my efficiency in documenting my research.”

Andreas Johansson at Helsingborg Campus of Lund University talks about how easy it was to get started using eCAT.

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

“I use eCAT for everything in the laboratory when I need to make a note of anything.  I use it for my experiments and my protocols.  But I also use it for things I didn’t use it for before I had an electronic lab notebook.  I use it for digital photos, so protein gels, screenshots of my HPC runs, screenshots of the small things I see during my experiment.  Before I would have just made a small note about it, now I have a photo of it.  And I also add time stamps during an experiment so I can easily see at what point I did a certain thing.  The main result is very very large quality improvements.  It also brings structure to your experiments automatically.  Since you are working with project folders you have your own experiments, and you also add protocols, and you add the data and you add whatever electronic stuff you get during the experiments to that folder.  So everything gets sorted by date and time.  It’s much more structure, automatically.

The main reason I chose eCAT is because its really easy to get started with and use.  If something is hard to get started with and easy to use a lot of people will just have a look at and never get around to starting the first experiment.  eCAT is easy to use; it also means I can ask my colleagues to use it as well.”

The Skinner lab at Washington State University likes eCAT’s ability to evolve with its research needs in investigating the transgenerational epigenetic effects of compounds exposed to soldiers in Iraq.

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 9:29 am

“e-CAT  has worked very well for tracking animals and sample locations.  Once the system was established and our staff was trained on its use, it became very easy to make sure that we know exactly where all of the samples are located. It’s a huge time saver, and the system was flexible enough to meet our needs right away.  The great thing that we saw in eCAT was a system that could be suited to varying needs as they change over time. It had a nice architecture in place that could be well suited to our needs right now, but also one that was flexible enough to handle all kinds of different data needs as they emerge in the future.”