First steps of digitalization and interoperability in the analytical lab
By Liane Kober, Molecular Biotechnology and Functional Genomics, Fachbereich Ingenieur- und Naturwissenschaften, Technische Hochschule Wildau
SciNote and Gilson TRACKMAN Connected
Before we take a look at our new workflow, let me explain the particularities of the ELN and the pipetting system, respectively. An ELN is an online platform, on which a group of scientists can work together on projects, write and share protocols, plan experiments and store all data in one place.
ELNs are structured in multiple layers to keep your data organized. Within SciNote, there are four main layers: team, projects, experiments, and tasks. In the beginning, a team is defined, consisting of different researchers. Those researchers can create projects, and within those projects, individual experiments are created that consist of multiple tasks.
Each task has its own protocol, which can be self-written or imported from protocols.io – a collection of freely available protocols. For each task, you can set start and due dates, add comments, and assign them as completed. Besides that, you can add the results of a completed protocol directly to the respective task.
Further integrated functions include:
- Inventories that can be assigned to tasks
- Activity lists to track changes made within SciNote
- Generation of reports to summarize your experiment(s) and results
- Manuscript writer add-on to create a draft of a manuscript
By using an ELN, we have significantly more functionalities available compared to a paper lab notebook. Those are even further extended when we take the Gilson TRACKMAN Connected into account.
The Gilson system consists of a tablet with accessories that can be paired to Bluetooth®-connected pipettes. The tablet is used to create pipetting plans with defined volumes and positions in a selected format (e. g. 96 or 384 wells). A microtiter plate (MTP) can be directly attached onto the screen of the tablet. The pipettes are connected via Bluetooth, and after that the pipetting is performed almost automatically. The only task the researcher needs to complete is to set the pipette at the right position and click a button. Pipetting is visually and acoustically assisted by marking the pipetting spot through the transparent bottom of an MTP and making a sound at the end of the pipetting step. Additionally, multi-dispensing and automated mixing is possible. After the pipetting is finished, a pipetting report is created that shows all experimental details. The plans and reports can be directly uploaded to SciNote.