June 15, 2022

Digital Technology Creates Massive Efficiencies for Cell Culture Labs

Rachel Bolger
Rachel Bolger


Cell culture is characterized by complex workflows. Along the way there is a massive amount of data being collected: the specifics of how cells are handled, their phenotypes, the genetic information, molecular analysis and more.

All the data is generated over months or even years, often by different scientists, in different labs or different parts of the world.

And the truth is, data separated by owner, time and geography is data at risk.

Digital technology can protect data, but cell culture science is being underserved by technology. There is a lack of high-quality digital solutions that serve the needs of the science, and, as a result, valuable data is lost to attrition, poor daily workflow recording and the inability to find it. Digital technology can address this challenge and create massive efficiencies in your cell culture lab.

CultureTrax is software built specifically for cell culture. It combines structure and tracking capability with a delightful digital interface that understands the biology of cell culture for easy and robust record keeping. Important workflow data is captured in searchable data fields which liberates the data, making it available for use. CultureTrax provides a whole lot of data management power and the ability to interrogate and share data in new and creative ways.

Here are some real life challenges cell culture scientists shared that CultureTrax helped solve:  

Can our critical process parameters be digitally tracked?

Keeping up with all the details of running a complex lab is a lot of work. One challenge is making sure everyone is keeping protocols current, communicating changes, using the correct materials, and recording all the critical process parameters. Deviations can impact results and create costly mistakes.  

CultureTrax provides a structured, yet flexible, way to record workflow information. Lot records for single and multicomponent materials are captured in a per use manner that are time and date stamped, as are technician observations, images and outside assay data. This enables robust record keeping with data connected directly to workflows. The result is accurate tracking of the cells and materials over time and the confidence that your cell culture work can be reproduced.  

"CultureTrax provides a multidimensional framework to handle planning, method development, protocol implementation and critical detail tracking."

—Rebekah Gundry, Professor and Vice Chair, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Director, Cardiomics Program University of Nebraska Medical Center

How can we collaborate with confidence?

Collaborating on cell culture projects is complex. It is difficult to share work in real time in a meaningful way with teammates or feel confident all the details are understood. Taking time off is stressful when you can’t be certain that the instructions and guidance for a set of experiments are completely understood. This is exacerbated by highly complex, poorly documented or incomplete protocols.

CultureTrax allows you to share data and collaborate confidently with colleagues.

CultureTrax material and protocol template libraries bring all members of your staff to the same level. Protocols and materials are standardized and can be shared with any member of your lab so you can hand off work with confidence. Lab directors can easily see everyone’s progress, both for current and past staff members.

"The ability to collaborate more effectively with other scientists, and to transfer detailed protocols and cell line histories will significantly improve my lab's research efficiency."

—Timothy Kamp, Professor of Medicine University of Wisconsin – Madison

Is there a better way to track our materials, methods and cell culture histories?  

If you didn’t record it, it never happened. There are a lot of materials that go into culturing cells. Plates, matrices, media, growth factors, passaging reagents and other media supplements are the tip of the iceberg. Incomplete or improperly documented lot information can make troubleshooting variability a real chore. 

The ability to create discreet lots of single component and recipe materials within CultureTrax, and then attach them to specific actions along a timeline, complete with amount or volume information makes tracing variability related to materials a simpler process. All the data is in one location and open for interrogation.

"This could enable us to identify best practices and troubleshoot observed variation in our stem cell derivatives more efficiently."

—Scientist Feedback  
CultureTrax makes it easier to trace variability related to materials via a centralized library with materials attached to specific timeline actions.

Does onboarding new cell culture scientists have to take so much time?   

Onboarding new staff and training them takes an investment in time and materials and labs are always looking for ways to make it faster and more efficient. Explaining protocols, material recipes and ‘how things are done’ diverts experienced staff from their work and slows down progress until the new hire is up to speed. 

We spoke with hundreds of scientists from industry and academia that highlight the need for six to nine months of hands-on, one-on-one training to bring a technician to the point where they are proficient and able work autonomously. This type of investment in training, both from a time and materials standpoint, compounded by a high turnover rate from the physical demands of the position, makes meeting the staffing challenges problematic.  

CultureTrax breaks complex cell culture protocols down into easy to execute, step by step actions, complete with the associated materials, aid in onboarding and orienting new staff, bringing them up to a base level of competency in a shorter amount of time with less one-on-one training. 

"We LOVE CultureTrax! Just hired a new technician, stem cell derivation to cardiomyocytes was a success on the first try - largely due to design of CultureTrax for protocol guidance at every level!"

—Rebekah Gundry, Professor and Vice Chair, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Director, Cardiomics Program; University of Nebraska Medical Center

How can I get real time visibility into my cell culture lab and reduce meeting time?

Knowing what is happening and being able to stay up-to-date with what everyone is doing in the lab can be a full-time job. Weekly group meetings, one-on-one meetings, and status updates can take precious time out of an already busy schedule. CultureTrax has multiple user settings that enable controlled access to information. As a ‘Lab Director’ you have visibility into everything your staff is doing, which helps keep everyone aligned and on task. Real-time visibility speeds discovery and eases communication. CultureTrax is web-based software, so you can access all the details of your cell culture lab. Any time. Anywhere.

"CultureTrax maintains critical information I would not know after those who did the work left the lab months or even years earlier."

—Allison Ebert, Assistant Professor Medical College of Wisconsin

CultureTrax software modernizes your processes and maximizes your data. Contact us today for your personalized demo.

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