We thought that we'd use these middle-of-summer weeks to revisit one of our earlier topics. In this case, it's the first of the list of salient items from our our "Five Strategies to Improve the Efficiency of Your Lab" white paper...
Just as we have become more efficient in managing our lives with devices such as smartphones, it’s equally importantto apply the same principles to become more efficient in managing our labs. While existing laboratory information management systems (LIMS) provide a good start to tackling this problem, there remain inefficiencies prevalent in the laboratory environment, especially as samples move from person to person and through the laboratory process.
A typical lab is a highly complex environment with a variety of instruments and software systems running simultaneously to perform myriad operations that support multiple ongoing experiments. The addition of data-intensive technologies and the subsequent reliance on more advanced bioinformatics further complicates the overall operations of the lab. As labs become increasingly complex, the task of managing data through the multiple systems in place becomes a serious undertaking.
What further exacerbates the already complex environment is the disparate nature of the software that operates these many systems. Oftentimes, the software being used is a mix of commercial systems, open source tools, and repurposed office tools, all with different interfaces and data formats. Therefore, data cannot be easily converged and samples cannot seamlessly move from one experiment to another. For example, sample metadata tracked in spreadsheets and paper lab notebooks is difficult to integrate with results generated by analysis software. So researchers often use manual methods to track and collate data and results from different tools, complicating downstream analysis and reporting.
To resolve this issue, Lab7’s Enterprise Science Platform (ESP) integrates a variety of different laboratory systems into unified workflows, not only in the wet lab, but also from the bioinformatics side. Using a mix of technologies, including our APIs and pipeline management system, ESP can communicate with and obtain data from a variety of instruments and software tools as the workflow progresses. Under the hood, ESP’s Resource Manager ties all the data in the workflow back to the samples, resulting in a seamless aggregation of data across the entirety of the experiment. This lets the user monitor and record all data generated in the lab in one common location, thereby eliminating the inefficiencies caused when these systems operate independently.
For further information on this lab inefficiency and to learn more, please click below: