Who Uses eCAT


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Dr Alex Swarbrick, Group leader, Cancer research program, Garvan Institute of Research, Sydney, Australia

Posted by admin on August 10th, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

http://www.axiope.com/electronic-lab-notebook/video/ecat_3.3.0/user/alex/alex.flv

“One of the best features I like about eCAT is it’s ability to bring together disparate bits of information that occur in different places as well as different times and to have all that in one place that gets archived and backed up centrally.”

About the Swarbrick lab

The Swarbrick lab investigates the protein coding genes and microRNAs controlling the self renewal, differentiation and metastasis of cancer cells. Alex aims to expand the basic understanding of cancer progression to allow the development of better therapeutic strategies for hard-to-treat cancers. His lab uses a range of model systems, including 2D and 3D cell culture, animal models and human tissues. They also collaborate closely with  colleagues in the Cancer Research Program who bring expertise in signal transduction, anatomical pathology, tissue banking and developmental biology.

Challenges

“Many of our projects are collaborative projects between several people, some of them all in the same lab, some in other parts of the building or the Institutute.  So, finding a way to combine data, combine experimental ideas, and put that all in one place has always been a real challenge.

Another major challenge has been sharing of reagents. We have a large database of cell lines, mouse tissues, and other biological resources as well as protocols that it’s always been very hard to manage using paper-based records.

Solution

We use eCAT as an experimental labbook for all the people in the lab.  They enter all the key information, everything from background through to methods, protocols and results and discussion into eCAT.

The other fantastic feature of eCAT that we use a lot is this ability to include metadata and links within records, so when it comes to managing biological samples this is really important.  So when we have transgenic mice we can track the mouse, the tissues that were made from the mouse, the extracts from the tissues, then the analyses on those extracts and keep them all linked through eCAT.

Results

The way that eCAT helps us is manyfold.  With eCAT we can link to established protocols — instead of having to write out detailed protocols every time someone does an experiment they can link to established protocols as well as putting in some relevant modifications.  By putting in primary data it brings all these disparate data types together so electronic data as well as text and so on into one place and we don’t have to go digging through a server trying to find the relevant Excel file or image or Affymetrix transgenic profiling data set.  That can all live in one place and it’s very easy to find.

When we are managing biological samples we can easily track data — for example in the case of transgenic mice the mouse, the tissues that were made from the mouse, the extracts from the tissues, then the analyses on those extracts — through an experiment whereas doing it with a paper-based approach would be extremely difficult.

The great thing is that people who are working on the project, including myself, can access that and be up to date with what”s happening, make annotations, make changes and suggestions, so it really makes it a much better collaborative situation.”

Professor Larry Gonzalez, Director of Biological Psychology and the Center for Alcohol & Drug-Related Studies, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

http://www.axiope.com/electronic-lab-notebook/video/ecat_3.3.0/user/larry/larry.flv

“eCAT helps keep me organized and it’s very good at increasing my efficiency in documenting my research.”

About the Gonzalez lab

We investigate the effects of chronic drug exposure on brain function. We use a variety of techniques, ranging from behavioural measurements to in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology.

Challenge

I was interested in an electronic lab notebook that would allow me to document research protocols we use and collect the date through data forms we generate in the notebook and also be able to link to external forms and external data files that were created with other programs, both raw data and images.

Solution

“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.

Results

Because its accessible over the internet eCAT is easy to view, form 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.”

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.”

Matthew Nicotra, Research Instructer, Starzl Transplant Center, University of PIttsburgh Medical Center

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

http://www.axiope.com/electronic-lab-notebook/video/ecat_3.3.0/user/matt/matt.flv

About Matt and his work

“We do transplant immunology using mouse models and comparative immunology using an inverabrate model for hista compatability and animals related to jelly fish and sea anenomes.

Challenge

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 spreadsheet 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.

Solution

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.

Results

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.  Its 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.

If I want to I can make templates for different types of experiments, like PCR experiments, flow cytometry data, those sorts of things.

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 anytime.

Perhaps the most important thing is it’s on the web.  I don’t have to spend any time doing IT support.  They update it when they come out withnew updates to the software.  And its backed up, so I don’t have to worry about data disappearing or, heaven forbid, there is a fire in our lab.”