Learn how our new intuitive lab software can help you set-up and execute your experiments.. and collaborate more effectively!
The repeatability problem
A few years ago, the US$1.6-million Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology set out to repeat key experiments from 50 high-profile cancer papers. Its aim was to assess the extent to which published results can be replicated. The project ended up stopping at 18 papers.
The main reason for this was the difficulty of working out what exactly was done in the original experiments. Protocols — precise step-by-step recipes for repeating experiments — are missing from published research more often than not. Indeed, even the original researchers can have trouble pinpointing particulars years later.
The challenge of effective dissemination of research
Repeating the step-by-step execution of an experiment is never easy. Firstly, you need to extract the details from another researcher’s published work. This work hopefully shares everything you need to know in its ‘methods and materials’ section. Then you have to assume that any differences in lab-ware used will not result in differences to experimental outcome. Unfortunately, it still relies on a degree of ‘interpretation’ regarding the way in which a particular step should be implemented by the researcher. For example, can we assume that every researcher uses a pipette in exactly the same way? The answer is, ‘no’, we absolutely cannot. Our intuitive lab software takes advantage of mobile-friendly, web-based technology, in order to minimize the risk of such errors. In so doing, we participate in ushering in an era of more efficient and confident science.
We have all had that experience.. at some point in our research career!
My own obsession with sharing methods derives from an all-too-common frustration during my PhD. I spent almost a year repeating a technique developed by a previous student, upon which an important part of my research was based. Imagine electrochemically immobilizing an enzyme in an electro-active polymer using a process that required precise control of pH and enzyme activity. During this time, I fully appreciated the importance of the accurate and repetitive dispensing of the correct microliter volume of a reagent used for doping that same polymer. I’m sure you get the point.. not easy, especially when the required level of detail had not been fully committed to paper and the individual had moved to another country to pursue a Post-Doc!
Intuitive lab software enabling easy sharing of protocols
The advancement of science critically depends upon the ability of the researcher to execute a specific protocol, in order to test a hypothesis, and other researchers to be able to repeat it and observe the same results. Errors in the execution of an experiment waste valuable time and resources. Worse still, they may go undetected by the peer review process, potentially wasting the time and funding of other research groups, and ultimately damage the reputation of the researcher.
Enter our innovative lab software: ‘OneLab’
In February 2019, Andrew Alliance launched a unique browser-based lab software environment called OneLab. It enables researchers to design, and share, their own protocols, through a highly intuitive graphical interface that can then be executed step-by-step, from any PC or tablet.
Imagine being able to set up each step of your serial dilution on an iPad, including all the required lab-ware and reagents. Once set up, you then execute your experiment either automatically on the Andrew+ robot, or semi-automatically on Pipette+, by remotely setting up the required volumes on an electronic pipette, rather than having to input them yourself. No more fiddling with tiny buttons with gloved hands, or trying to ready small displays while pipetting!
Intuitive lab software that enables the ‘connected’ lab
Of course, pipetting is just one, albeit highly important, step in a life science experiment work flow. There are others (grabbing, heating, shaking, weighing, and so on) which is why Andrew Alliance is working with partners to expand its offering of connected device solutions and intuitive lab software, towards a more ‘connected’ laboratory.
Not only does this free up time for the researcher to focus on higher level tasks but it also provides full traceability. OneLab acquires data detailing the precise execution of each step of an experiment, beneficial for troubleshooting and ensuring a full audit trail for regulated laboratories.
OneLab is the first intuitive lab software to truly facilitate efficient, centralized programming of connected pipettes and rapid sharing of protocols, enabling laboratories to boost productivity and performance!