Biotechnology Focus

Laboratory Focus September 2011

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Page 4 of 19 Laboratory Focus September 2011 TORONTO SCIENTISTS DEVELOP OPEN- SOURCE WEB-BASED APPLICATION TO TRACK REAGENT COLLECTIONS Researchers at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, led by Dr. Karen Colwill and Marina Olhovsky, have developed an open-source, web-based tool to track both large-scale data- sets and individual reagents, allowing for easy access, shar- ing and management of data across various projects and research groups. The software is described in the August is- sue of Nature Methods. Before now, scientists had limited affordable resources to track and manage the rapid growth of large-scale reagent collections. "At the Lunenfeld, we have extensive DNA and RNAi col- lections that are shared among multiple laboratories," said Dr. Colwill, senior author of the study and a staff scientist in Dr. Tony Pawson's lab. "Open- Freezer efficiently manages these reagents and allows us to access them as needed. Designed by biologists and backed by powerful computer technologies, OpenFreezer offers other scientists an af- fordable and effective route to manage and archive their own reagents." Currently, the software is being used by more than 150 scientists at the Lunenfeld covering multiple expertise areas including cancer biol- ogy, systems biology and proteomics. Dr. Colwill expects that scientists internation- ally will utilize OpenFreezer for research endeavours across multiple aspects of biomedical research. OpenFreezer offers scien- tists several advantages in- cluding: • Permanent storage and ar- chiving at a single site, with simultaneous access for an unlimited number of users; • Ability to add new reagents and customize existing ones; • Three central modules that allow users to track infor- mation on an unlimited number of labs, users and projects; assess the prop- erties of different reagents; and determine the loca- tions of a reagent's physical preparations. For ordering information or technical support, contact Wyvern Customer Service 1-877-998-3767 (USA and Canada), or visit our website: Our filtration products are designed, manufactured and certified in accordance with ISO 9001 Reply card #4474 "Computer processing power makes a great difference in its potential to expedite genetic research via sophisti- cated data warehousing and management tools, such as OpenFreezer," says Marina Olhovsky, a software engineer in Dr. Pawson's lab and first author of the study. "Open- Freezer provides a foundation for the operation of a labora- tory within an enterprise soft- ware application framework. We encourage biologists and computer scientists to assist us with the future develop- ment of OpenFreezer." Olhovsky wished to ded- icate OpenFreezer to her NEWS mother, Larisa Olhovsky, who lost an untimely battle with cancer in 2006. "This is Mom's legacy. I dedicate this work in her memory as a guiding light for biological researchers on their path towards winning the battle against cancer and other dis- eases," said Olhovsky. The software is freely avail- able for demonstration and download under the GNU General Public License on the OpenFreezer website at www. 5 Lab Filtration High Quality, Extremely Low Cost Filters or all your Labratory Filtration Requirements! Syringe Filters MCE Membranes Extraction Thimbles Glass Fiber Disc Filters & Sheets 934-AH® Disc Filters & Sheets Quantitative & Qualitative Sheets Vacuum Cups Bacteria Monitors

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