February 10, 2023

Why Digital? What happens when cryovials have no provenance.

Kevin Conard and Rachel Bolger
Kevin Conard and Rachel Bolger


Why Digital? is a series of articles based on real experiences. The names of companies and people involved are removed from the stories, but the stories themselves offer important lessons.

“Yesterday Stress” is a familiar laboratory story of the hunt for information from days or years past. For example, someone in the lab conducts cryovial inventory and stumbles across a batch of cells with no provenance.  You have a vague recollection, a triggered memory, that this line over-expressed a protein that showed promise in relation to keeping the cell culture undifferentiated.  You were planning to design some confirmatory experiments, but priorities changed.  

Eighteen months have passed and there’s been turnover in the lab. The information, original test data, culture details, etc., for these cells is somewhere in one of a dozen notebooks and hard drives. You are staring at the computer wondering where to start and the cryovial label information isn’t helping.  

How much time will you and your lab members spend looking through notebooks and interpreting information? Will the data on the hard drives, assuming you can find it, be complete, uncorrupted, and accessible? This is “Yesterday Stress”.

Elegant digital solutions eliminate “Yesterday Stress”. Traceable digital cell culture histories would have alleviated much of the frustration and lost time searching for the cell culture and testing data. With CultureTrax, cell culture data, including specific material lot information, cell counts, images, and observational data, is elegantly linked over time and even across different users. The histories include links to outside analytical data and summary information. All of this is stored in a centralized data hub that is accessible anywhere, anytime. Standardized workflow recording means no more guessing to fill in missing information or decipher handwritten notes.

Eliminate “Yesterday Stress”.


CultureTrax tracks cell culture histories. This image shows that Passage 5 and Passage 6 of cell line 01434.329.A2 are linked and can be traced back to their origin.

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