Who Uses eCAT


Current Articles | RSS Feed

Professor Mike Shipston, Director of The University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Integrative Physiology

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

“It was a major surprise; transferring to an electronic lab notebook is actually very easy.”

About the Shipston lab

“We’re interested in ion channel physiology.  We look at post transcriptional and post translational mechanisms of ion channel regulation. That goes from the regulation of alternative splicing to regulation of simple ion channel proteins through to the behavior of ion channel intact organisms such as transgenic mice.  So our work spans the remit of molecular biology, protein biochemistry, high resolution cell imaging, electro physiology, right up to behaviorial studies in animals.

Challenge

We generate a wide variety of types of data sets, for example data from molecular analysis, quantitative analysis, for example quantitative RTPCR, gene cloning, through to electrophysiological analysis, for example from confocal images and total internal reflective microscopy right up to to behaviorial assays in animals.  So it’s really about coordinating those types of data sets that fit together, keeping them contained within projects, because the data sets are derived from different people within the lab.  Also we have a very big extended network both in the UK and across Europe and the US.  Its about keeping that information together.

We have a large number of people coming in and out of the lab, the challenge is keeping track of that data and integrating it in with data from existing projects.

Solution

We use eCAT as a cataloging and information retrieval system.  We can keep catalogs of resources  and protocols up to date and exchange that very effectively between lab members.

We also use eCAT as an eELN.  The great thing about eCAT is its incredibly flexible in terms of how you can set it up.  For example each member of the lab has their own folders and put their own experiments within that, but its every easy to put that information together.

Results

It was a major surprise; transferring to an electronic lab notebook is actually very easy.

The other thing is because eCAT is web-based you can access it from anywhere

Having everything tied together under one resource, so results, protocols, constructs, where things are physically, having everything together under one system has just been perfect.”

Mike Shipston’s lab at the Centre for Integrative Physiology, Edinburgh University, benefits from eCAT’s flexibility and ease of use in research using post transcriptional and post translational mechanisms of ion channel regulation

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

“We generate a wide variety of types of data sets, for example data from molecular analysis, quantitative analysis, for example quantitative RTPCR, gene cloning, through to electrophysiological analysis, for example from confocal images and total internal reflective microscopy right up to behaviorial assays in animals.   We use eCAT as a cataloging and information retrieval system.  We can keep catalogs of resources  and protocols up to date and exchange that very effectively between lab members.  We also use eCAT as an ELN.  The great thing about eCAT is it’s incredibly flexible in terms of how you can set it up.  For example each member of the lab has their own folders and puts their own experiments within that, but its every easy to put that information together. It was a major surprise; transferring to an electronic lab notebook is actually very easy.”

Andreas Johansson, Microbiological Laboratory, Campus Helsingborg, Lund University

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

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

“I chose eCAT because it’s really easy to get started with and use.  With eCAT it’s actually fun to take notes!”

About  Andreas’ work

“We are mainly working with lactic acid bacteria and we try and isolate it from the common honeybee.  We do a lot of common lab experiments and we also do a lot of outdoor experiments.  We also work with a lot of groups around the world.

Challenge

The most important challenge was inconsistent or messy notes.   Another big thing is missing protocols.  They are all over the place.  You might have one tacked to the wall, others in a binder, and at the time you need it someone has borrowed the binder or you can’t find it.  Some things are in your head and some things are in the lab notebook.  Before there were experiments in three different lab notebooks and another one belonged to one of my colleagues.

Solution

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.

Results

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.

Now when you’ve done an experiment and you want to share it with a colleague, it’s much easier.  It’s structured from the beginning and it looks good.  You can easily print it, or print it electronically and send it to colleagues by email.  And for me it’s actually fun to take notes nowadays!  I take notes on everything just because it looks good in eCAT.  Nowadays the first thing I do is to start a new experiment in eCAT, even before I start the small preparatory things.

Another big thing is that I am able to access my data from outside the laboratory. I’ts completely web-based so you don’t need to install any software on your computer.  This also means that as long as you have access to a browser you can access eCAT.  It doesn’t matter if you are on Linux or Apple or a Windows system.  That’s really important for the future.

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 it 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.

It’s also easily configurable and its easy to customize your experiments.  You can make your experiments and your protocols look whatever way you want them to.”

Michael Shtutman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy University of South Carolina

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

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

“The most interesting feature of eCAT is its flexibility.”

About the Shtutman lab

“My lab is doing functional genomics projects.   Our work involves many parallel projects with high throughput sequencing, analysis of results as well as wet biology assays.  In parallel, as the director of the functional genomics facility, we provide services for other labs.

Challenge

We run many different projects involving different people, so it was difficult to combine all the results together, and to trace the materials that appear as a result of the research projects.

Solution

We have project related-databases as well as materials-related databases.  eCAT allows us to enter all the project information and the materials information and location.

Results

With eCAT we were able to organize all our projects and materials, and create an integrated and searchable database of our work.

The most interesting feature of eCAT is its flexibility.  It allows us to add our own classes, and to add information in the manner most convenient for us.  The other features, including powerful search and the ability to add graphic data, are also advantageous.”

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.”