Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are moving from centralized organizations to a virtual network of contract research organizations (CROs), academic partners, internal labs, and government agencies. Access to real-world patient data, supporting precision or stratified drug discovery, and the general trend to externalize services all require sophisticated data management that enables the right mix of access and security. This article will look at the different research and development (R&D) processes in life science organizations where data is central to collaboration, and how it needs to be consistently captured, integrated, managed, tracked, and analyzed. Technical considerations for supporting this changing environment will also be explored and, as pharmaceutical companies are already in this increasingly complex network of data and partners, this will be done in a pragmatic way.
Laboratories in the U.S. are energy-intensive facilities that use anywhere from 30 to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 75,000 to 800,000 Btu of natural gas per square foot annually. Actual use varies with such factors as the age of the facility, the type of research done there, and the climate zone in which the lab is located. In a typical laboratory, lighting and space heating account for approximately 74 percent of total energy use (Figure 1), making these systems the best targets for energy savings. Because laboratories consume so much energy, the potential for energy and dollar savings through energy-efficiency improvements and energy conservation is impressive—some studies estimate that implementing such measures can result in savings as high as 50 percent for laboratories and cleanroom facilities.
Do you like Pringles™ potato chips? Do you use skin lotion? Have you noticed all the new planets outside our solar system that have been recently discovered? When you’ve flown, have you noticed the funny tails that are on the wing tips? Have you seen the new cancer-fighting drugs that are tailored to individuals and their tumors? All these things and many others are made possible by HPC (high performance computing). HPC is quickly becoming an important tool in many companies, research institutes, and universities.
Although the concept of a checklist has been regarded as a foundation of standardization and operational safety in government and industry services for some time, such techniques have generally escaped the scrutiny of the human factor industry. Most laboratory operators budgeting for and installing new equipment tend to overlook key elements of their projects. This oversight results in missing the full scope of the required tasks, which usually lands the laboratory or project manager on the short side of funding, time, materials, and human resources when contemplating and/ or installing a capital improvement project.
Step One: Get your chemical inventory under control
In October 2012, Lab Manager Magazine, along with ChemSW Inc., hosted a Product Spotlight webinar, "How to Find and Fix the Top Eight Lab Chemical Management Errors." Jon Webb, senior technical specialist and inventory consultant at ChemSW, gave a brief presentation on the challenges of chemical inventory and data management and outline some of the common errors that exist in labs today. He discussed best practices in chemical inventory...
Joel Dudley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Director of Biomedical Informatics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, talks to contributing editor Tanuja Koppal, Ph.D. about the current changes impacting bioinformatics. While data generation gets simpler and less expensive, data search and interpretation remain a formidable challenge. Lack of standardization in data nomenclature and analysis tools continues to spur innovation in the creation of custom software programs and services. Since there exists no easy, one-stop shop for data management, Dudley advises lab managers to leverage their core facilities for bioinformatics, to look out for emerging software companies, and to get creative with informatics tools when tackling complex integrative biology.
Understanding each other's needs and priorities is key to a good working relationship
There are varying points of view on the question of the best use of research space. Different stakeholder groups hold differing views, and individuals within these groups will have different sets of priorities. But the same goal is shared by all: arrangement and layout should promote successful scientific research and the well-being of the researchers.
To optimize lab operations, several questions must first be answered. How can you adjust service levels based on usage? How can you trigger preventive actions prior to failure? How effective are you at utilizing your assets?
UV/Visible Spectrophotometers • Classical-looking UV-Vis spectrophotometers now include enhanced standard features • Certain models now include free DataStream PC control software, free validation software, free single cell Kinetics software and free automatic cell changer software • Each instrument will also be supplied with an appropriate dust cover • A wide range of additional features is also available