With the increasing demand for efficient laboratory processes and real-time data management, research organizations worldwide are seeking solutions to integrate and automate their workflows.
Advanced Cellular Dynamics (ACD), a contract research organization, stands at the forefront of this movement, leveraging modern technology and automation to optimize its services. Here, we delve into ACD’s challenge, solution, and the role of SciNote electronic lab notebook (ELN) and its Application Programming Interface (API) in their transformation.
“Before using the API, we just had to do the manual exports on sign-out and then clean up anything that related to any mention of other clients. Basically, we can’t keep doing all of that, but we want to make sure that each client’s information is separate and that there’s no risk of crossover. The API really kind of solved all that in one step.”
~ Shyam Ajudia. Bioinformatics Lead, Advanced Cellular Dynamics
Table of Contents:
About Advanced Cellular Dynamics (ACD)
Founded in 2006 by Dr. Deborah Schwarz, Advanced Cellular Dynamics (ACD) began with a focused mission to produce research-enabling cell-based kinase assays. Over the years, this mission has transformed and expanded, leading ACD to offer a comprehensive range of contract research services backed by an advanced laboratory suite and unique vivarium services.
Their programs span across four core areas: Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Protein Biology, and Bioinformatics. The company emphasizes several major advantages:
- Advanced laboratory suites supported by a wide of biological expertise and an expanding catalog of leading-edge lab equipment,
- Vivarium Services provided by specialized technicians skilled in laboratory animal care, allowing advanced in-vivo animal modelling,
- And Electronic Documentation with full transparency and visibility into study progress, milestones and data provided.
A distinct feature of ACD is its emphasis on transparency; ACD provides real-time electronic lab notebook tracking of all studies launched, making lab notebook entries, inventory, and billing visible to its clients.
A significant challenge ACD faced was ensuring transparent lab notebook entries and routine or on-demand inventory exports to clients without compromising the privacy of data related to other clients. The manual export sanitization process was tedious, error-prone, and had the potential for unintentional data crossover.
Furthermore, ACD also struggled with syncing supplier requests and ordering between SharePoint (where the database is located) and SciNote (ELN), as every inventory item had to be entered twice, so both systems are up-to-date.
API integration emerged as a transformative solution for ACD.
SciNote’s API not only provided ACD with a more efficient way to manage data, but also offered a holistic solution that elevated their operational standards, ensuring that the lab’s processes remained both robust and client-centric.
By adopting this integration solution, ACD experienced several transformative benefits:
Enhanced Data Structuring: ACD was able to meticulously organize client data, ensuring that every piece of information was categorized distinctly. With the precision offered by SciNote’s API, every client’s data was stored in a manner that eliminated any risk of overlap or intermingling.
This meticulous approach ensured that client-sensitive information remained both secure and separated.
Automated Data Export: The API enabled ACD to create an automated system where specific client inventory items and lab notebook entries were exported with minimal manual intervention.
Clients could now have direct and tailored access to their data without wading through irrelevant information.
Seamless System Integration: One of the standout features was the smooth integration between SharePoint and ACD’s inventory system.
With the assistance of a Python server and SciNote’s API, every new inventory item documented in SharePoint underwent automatic parsing. Following this, the items were directly transmitted to their dedicated inventory system, eliminating manual transfers and reducing the margin of error.
Optimized Entry System for Oligonucleotides: Traditionally, ACD relied on extensive Excel sheets for managing the entry and tracking of oligonucleotides. With the API integration, this process was revolutionized.
ACD created an intuitive web interface where oligonucleotides could be entered in bulk. This interface, powered by SciNote’s API, allows for efficient tagging, tracking, and management of these molecules.
Gone are the days of cumbersome spreadsheets; ACD now enjoys a streamlined and efficient system for this vital molecular tracking.
Transparency and Client-Centricity
ACD’s adoption of SciNote has been instrumental in boosting transparency with their clients. By structuring the system in a manner where each client operates as a separate team, ACD ensures that each client has real-time access to their specific inventory and lab notebook entries.
The automation provided by the API allows for instant export and data sanitation, ensuring that clients only view information pertinent to them. This not only reduces potential human error from manual processing but also enhances client trust as they can oversee how their resources are being utilized.
Efficient Inventory Management and Integration
ACD’s seamless integration between SharePoint and SciNote’s inventory system, through API and Python servers, showcases the power of automation in inventory management. Before this, lab members had to manually enter each item in both systems, leading to inefficiencies and potential errors.
With the API solution, ACD has successfully synchronized data entry between SharePoint and SciNote’s inventory system, thus eliminating redundant tasks and ensuring data consistency.
Migrating from Static to Dynamic Systems
ACD’s initiative to transition from static Excel spreadsheets to more dynamic and integrated systems like SciNote exemplifies the broader trend of modern labs embracing digitization.
The API played a crucial role in recreating the ease of data entry found in Excel but within a web interface. This not only streamlined the data entry process, but also allowed for efficient tagging, tracking, and utilization of inventory items like oligonucleotides.
This move signifies the larger shift away from isolated data storage solutions to more integrated, dynamic, and accessible platforms that offer more value in terms of traceability and data analytics.
Advanced Cellular Dynamics’ (ACD) journey from identifying challenges to implementing modern API-based solutions serves as a testament to the transformative power of technological adoption in the realm of research and lab management.
The integration of SciNote’s API has paved the way for a series of positive outcomes:
- Significant Time Savings
- Enhanced Client Satisfaction
- Reduction in Errors