User Group Meeting “Sneak Peek”: Advancing translational research, high content imaging and screening, mobile applications for science

Next week’s 2013 User Group Meeting in Waltham, Mass., will set the stage for scientists to learn about and hear proof cases on the most advanced informatics software available to the scientific market.

The two-day conference, to be held Tuesday –Wednesday, October 1-2, will focus on how informatics can be applied to create end-to-end workflow solutions that benefit laboratory operations and processes. On Day 1, themed “End to End Solutions”, emphasis will be placed on how scientists can move past the era of silo-ed scientific informatics with integrated, holistic software solutions. Day 2, themed, “Every step of the process, every person involved” will feature presentation tracks that focus on users, applications and solutions.

Key highlights will include:

High Content Imaging for Drug Discovery Against Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, presented by Gianluca Pegoraro, Integrated Toxicology Division, United State Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Gianluca will present how the Integrated Toxicology Division uses High-Content Imaging to discover and characterize novel small molecules capable of inhibiting the replication of multiple viral pathogens.

Advancing Translational Research with Web-Portal Analytics, presented by Adam Asare, Immune Tolerance Network.

Adam will demonstrate that the use of web-portal analytics combined with powerful data visualization software serves as a potential paradigm shift in how clinical trials translational research is performed.

Integration of ChemDraw® for iPad® in the Organic Chemistry Classroom, by Layne Morsch, University of Illinois-Springfield.

Layne will share how his organic chemistry classroom experienced an obvious increase in class participation and in students’ engagement with the  curriculum material as a result of implementing ChemDraw for iPad as a learning tool.

The User Group Meeting kicks off next week – sign up today to reserve your spot to hear from 25 speakers on real-life applications and advantages of advanced scientific informatics. Register now by clicking here.

UGM Featured Speaker Preview: Defending data from field collection to final reporting

With two weeks to go until our 2013 User Group Meeting in Waltham, Mass., we spoke with UGM presenter Kathy Smith, Senior Database Administrator and LIMS Administrator for the Narragansett Bay Commission, about her plans to share insights gained in its laboratory using the wireless, automated iLAB® Laboratory Execution System.

Narragansett Bay Commission is a non-profit public corporation that owns and operates the two largest waste treatment facilities in Rhode Island. The commission regularly tests wastewater samples from industrial sites and needs to be able to defend chain of custody of its samples in the event that a sample’s accuracy and authenticity were to be challenged in a court of law. 

When Kathy joined NBC in 2003, the laboratory had a LIMS but it wasn’t able to collect instrument data directly into the database, and was using paper logs and paper chain of custody.  The paper trail in the laboratory reduced the lab productivity and allowed transcription and calculation errors.

“If you have to go to court to defend when, where and by whom a sample was collected, in what refrigerators it was stored in the lab, and how many different people touched that sample, it becomes very difficult to defend your data using a manual recording system,” Kathy said. “It’s easy for lawyers to poke holes in data recorded with pen and paper.” 

Kathy played a key role in the recommendation that NBC adopt the iLAB integrated solution. Instead of pen and paper, field collectors bring an iPad into the field and electronically record sample collection information that is then instantly transmitted to NBC’s database through the iLAB Portal.

“To document chain of custody, the field collectors collecting a sample simply use a wireless device to scan his or her employee badge, along with the barcode associated with the container” Kathy said. “When a field sample arrives at the laboratory, the receipt person scans his or her employee badge and each container’s barcode to log in each sample. Samples can easily be received and we have the ability to track samples marked in-transit along with the other pertinent statuses using an all-in-one touchscreen computer mounted on the wall in our facility’s receiving area.”

Each time a sample enters or exits a refrigerator, laboratory area, or passes through a chemist’s hands, scanners are used to record building location and employee information.

“Our data is completely defendable, and almost entirely automated,” Kathy said. “I’m really excited about the mobile solutions that allow our field collectors to go out into the field with an electronic device and to also use the device as a scanner. There’s no double entry, no chance of error. When it comes to documenting a sample’s chain of custody, we could absolutely defend our data if we were questioned.”

The laboratory has also embraced the use of iLAB LES in the microbiology lab where it has eliminated the need for paper logs. Each paper log, ie. inventory log, dilution log, reagent log, etc., has been converted to an LES worksheet. Data that needs to be sent to the database is automatically driven in through the process, and copies of the worksheets are stored as PDF’s in SharePoint. This is a huge benefit that reduces errors and cuts down on costs.

When Kathy attended the National Environmental Monitoring Conference in San Antonio last month, she noted that many of her colleagues in the environmental industry were extremely impressed by what NBC had accomplished by implementing iLAB. It became clear that “we are ahead of the curve” in terms of adopting automated technology, Kathy said.

The final deployed LES at Narragansett Bay offers higher quality data with less effort and includes the following: Automated Sample Tracking, Implementation of Mobile Devices, Wireless Scanners, Embedded SOP Links, Automated COA generation, Instrument and System Integration, Integration with SHAREPOINT, Inventory Management, Touch Screen Receipting, Electronic Lab Notebooks, Instrument Calibration and Maintenance Management, Automated Electronic Chain of Custody, Total Traceability and Data Defensibility.

Kathy will present “Enabling Data Defensibility and Laboratory Productivity Using a Laboratory Execution System” on Day Two of our two-day UGM, held October 1 and 2. You can sign up to attend this exclusive gathering of experts and peers right here.

Read more about the products NBC implemented by clicking here.

From the laboratory to the classroom: Mobile apps create new niche in education for ChemDraw

Our 2013 User Group Meeting, to be held October 1-2 in Waltham, Mass., will not only highlight the growth of scientific informatics to support end-to-end laboratory solutions, but will share a special story of how a mobile chemical drawing application has changed the way chemistry educators are approaching classroom learning.

When PerkinElmer Informatics innovators first started discussing the idea of bringing the popular ChemDraw® software program to a mobile application, the app was designed with the professional scientist in mind. Since ChemDraw’s creation in 1986, the program has been adopted by chemists across the board as the go-to software program for drawing chemical structures, writing patents, and publishing papers.

But with the 2013 launch of ChemDraw for iPad® and the related program Chem3D® for iPad, PerkinElmer Informatics has found itself catering to a new niche of customers in education.

Traditionally, chemistry students did not come into contact with ChemDraw until the end of their undergraduate careers or during graduate school, when the program was used to help publish academic papers. The mobile application of ChemDraw has now transformed the program into a learning tool through the invention of a novel sharing function, Flick-To-Share™, that was divined and designed by the Informatics mobile development team.

Hans Keil, business leader for Informatics’ desktop and mobile applications, explains in a recent interview with Boston “Tech Talk” radio show host Craig Peterson that the iPad applications have suddenly launched Informatics in a new direction that our team has not previously played a big role in.

“Now, all of a sudden, it could be a first-year college chemistry classroom where students are using this program,” Hans said. The cost of the ChemDraw app is $9.99, which is much more affordable than the desktop version. “It is really distilled down to the basics around chemical structure drawing to be able to render chemical structures in a very basic way, in a very quick way, in a very intuitive way.”

Having partnered with McGraw-Hill education, Informatics was able to see ChemDraw for iPad in action through two pilot programs held during summer 2013 chemistry classes at Saint Louis University and University of Illinois-Springfield.

The Flick-To-Share capability allowed organic chemistry students to instantaneously share drawings with their professors, who could then make any necessary corrections and send it right back to their students. “It turned out to be a real positive thing, in terms of engagement levels. That was the big take-away from those two pilots,” Hans said.

Flick-To-Share, which uses a novel, patent-pending simple finger swipe to send and share drawings with colleagues instantly, was created when Informatics’ head of R&D wondered aloud, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just flick that molecule across the room to somebody else?”

“Our head of R&D then said, ‘Yes, we can make that happen’. He worked with the mobile development team,” Hans said. “In very short order, the team came up with a prototype where we were ‘flicking’ drawings to each other.”

“I just think it’s a testament to what can happen when you rethink a product that’s been locked in the desktop world for so many years,” Hans said. “A tablet really helps you unlock potential and think about new directions in which you can move.”

To meet Hans and hear more about how he envisions chemistry apps will evolve science classrooms, sign up to attend our October 1-2, 2013 User Group Meeting in Waltham, Mass.

Listen to Hans’ full interview on “Tech Talk” in this YouTube video.

Building an integrated platform to support Merck's biologics R&D

Photo Credit: sparktography via Compfight cc

As a long-time provider of workflow management software for chemical research, and the established worldwide leader in number of ELN enterprise seats, the past year has been an especially exciting time of research and development at PerkinElmer Informatics as we have collaborated with Merck & Co. Inc. to devise workflow solutions tailored for biologics research.

Over the better part of the last decade, opportunities in biologics have been rapidly expanding as drug discovery researchers have worked to create a new class of drug therapies using large biological molecules as vehicles to deliver anti-disease proteins. These molecules can specifically target certain types of diseases, and can be purified from animal sources or can be gathered from human blood donation. Through a fermentation process very similar to the way beer is produced, these molecules can then be sterilized, bottled and sold as drug therapies used intravenously or through vaccination.

With a worldwide presence as a leader in providing health solutions in over 140 countries, it was during 2009 and 2010 that Merck began to focus on the further development of a biologics R&D program.  

Leader in biologics

Merck was one of the first corporations to take a deep dive into biologics production, and the company embarked on experimenting in biologics drug therapies several years ago. But their experimental data was being captured the old-fashioned way on pen and paper and in Excel spreadsheets, making it difficult for Merck’s scientists to truly capitalize on the wealth of information their research was generating.

It was at that realization that Merck turned to PerkinElmer Informatics. Based on its experience as a long-time satisfied user of our workflow management solutions for their chemical pharmaceutics R&D activities, Merck hoped to build on its existing investment in the PerkinElmer Informatics E-Notebook BioAssay structured results management module to achieve a successful biologics workflow management system.

Merck identified required expansions to the BioAssay program and our team set to work to further develop BioAssay to support structured data, results and sample tracking in biologics R&D. Not only did Merck desire a workflow management program that could organize the complex biologics R&D process, Merck wanted an integrated solution that would allow users to collaborate throughout all workflow stages using search, access and sharing functionalities on a platform that included standard data structure, taxonomy and data models.

Developing an integrated platform

Beginning in 2011, our team started production on the expansion of our BioAssay module that would suit Merck’s needs in biologics R&D. Once a working model of the program was completed and tried true, production pilot deployment testing began in August 2012.

With the pilot deployment successfully completed, our team is now implementing the sample tracking, workflow management solutions, and enhanced biologics functionality for the BioAssay to end users within Merck’s Vaccines Development, Biologics Discovery, Biologics Development and certain In Vivo data management groups.

Merck expects to benefit from this deployment through improved data capture that will use context to allow for sequential and comparative analysis through a product’s life cycle, and through the ability for managers to quickly assess productivity, cycle time and capacity understanding and perform full product life cycle analyses.

Additional reading

Case Study: Collaboration Adds Biologics Capabilities to Ensemble for Biology

Bio-IT World: Merck Finds Commercial Solution in Collaboration 

Leading the mobile science discussion: PKI Informatics to attend ACS Exposition in Indianapolis

This year’s annual American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition will be held in Indianapolis, IN, September 8-12, 2013, and PerkinElmer Informatics will be in attendance to promote awareness and discussion surrounding the migration of scientific software from desktop and enterprise platforms to mobile applications.

After the June 2013 release of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, the PKI Informatics team is excited to share our mobile development experience with the chemistry community. The two iPad apps were created using an untraditional development process that maintained scientific intelligence and practical functionalities – instead of hiring an external mobile developer, PKI Informatics scientists and software developers were trained on how to build a mobile app, which allowed ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad to be built in-house. The process lead to the creation of a brand new sharing technology called Flick-To-Share™, which allows for instantaneous colleague-to-colleague sharing of chemical drawings using a novel, single-finger gesture.

The benefits of mobile chemistry software extend beyond the laboratory; mobile science apps stand to transform the way students of chemistry are educated. One of the key papers that PKI Informatics will present at the ACS Expo will be given by Hans Keil, PKI Informatics Senior Director, and is entitled “ChemDraw, iPads, and collaboration tools in the classroom: Results of a joint PerkinElmer and McGraw Hill pilot at the organic chemistry undergraduate level”.  The paper was authored based off a summer 2013 pilot program at University of Illinois Springfield in which an organic chemistry class became a first adopter of ChemDraw for iPad as a learning and test-taking tool. Flick-To-Share technology is a key component of the app's success in a classroom setting, allowing for student-to-student and student-to-teacher collaboration.

In addition to the focus on mobile, two additional papers will be presented by PKI Informatics:

Phillip Skinner, Field Marketing Director, will present “A new frontier in Reaction Search: Dynamic mining of ELN-based reaction methodology data in Spotfire”. Skinner will present how the use of TIBCO Spotfire® data visualization software to search ELN-based reactions allows scientists to ask complex and dynamic questions of methodology data by visualizing data on various graphical representations.

Phil McHale, Executive Director of Product Management, will present “Exchanging chemical structures and ELN data: CDX, CDXML, and other formats”. McHale will present how open CDX and CDXML formats can be used to share molecular information ranging from connection tables to orientation, layout, fonts and non-structural elements to retain complete fidelity with the original drawing, as well as describe emerging XML-based standards for secure and accurate data exchange between ELNs.

The PKI Informatics team hopes to see you in Indianapolis! Click here to register for your attendance now. Tweet us at @PKI_Informatics or @ChemDraw and let us know if you will be at the ACS conference.

Clicking the above links highlighted on the paper titles will bring you to the abstract pages on the ACS website for presentation dates and times.

Trend: Science industries set to accelerate their adoption of mobile technology

Photo Credit: gailjadehamilton via Compfight cc

Today’s rapidly evolving technology and ever-increasing sense of global commerce has stimulated a seemingly exponential rate of integration of traditional desktop software with mobile solutions.

While education, health, fitness, finance and business markets have seen a faster adoption of mobile technology, scientific industries are quickly gaining momentum in movement to mobile as scientists seek the advantages of mobile collaboration and productivity. With it estimated by Gartner Inc. that the year 2013 will see smart phones and tablets numbering 1 billion in sales, up 50% from 2012, it’s no secret that the future of business technology lies in mobile apps and solutions.

Scientists will be able to incorporate mobile apps into existing desktop and enterprise workflows to achieve real-time, on-the-go access to ideas and data. By leveraging novel sharing tools such as Flick-To-Share™ technology, which debuted in ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, users will be able to send high-quality graphics and data back and forth between colleagues for instant collaboration – all with the swipe of a finger.

Looking to the future, the capability of mobile apps for scientists will continue to expand to allow for remote access and control of laboratory instruments and systems. The concept of the 24/7 laboratory will evolve as scientists will no longer need to be physically present to monitor on-going experiments – instead mobile access to experiment controls will give researchers the freedom and flexibility to manage lab work from down the hall, down the street, or halfway around the world.

Importantly, key decision makers in scientific corporations will see improved access to and accuracy of real-time actionable information. As United States companies adjust to this year’s change from first-to-invent to first-to-file patent laws, the ability to share information and make decisions quickly will continue to become more and more important.

Not only does mobile technology allows scientific leaders to stay clued in while on the go, it guarantees that information entered into a workflow record is highly accurate. Smart phones and tablets empowered with scientific apps will continue to help scientists move completely away from traditional pen and paper note taking and sketching, which opens the door for a host of transcription errors down the line. Saving time and accuracy, scientists will be able to instantly types notes, snap pictures and draw scientifically-intelligent structures and images and instantly send that data to record keeping through communication with enterprise networks.

Interested in learning more about science’s migration to mobile technology? Read our white paper analyzing the market’s needs and potentials for mobile growth and development.

By scientists for scientists: Cultivating an internal Informatics mobile app team

Following this week’s launch of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, PerkinElmer Informatics’ executive leaders Mike Stapleton, General Manager and Vice President of Growth and Innovation – Environmental Health, and Robin Smith, Vice President of R&D, opened up about the process of developing a mobile scientific software app.

Since the inspiration to create a mobile version of ChemDraw first struck last summer, the development team approached the design of the app with the characteristic entrepreneurial gusto that has inspired innovation since ChemDraw was launched in 1986.

Once it was agreed that the first mobile app would be designed for iPad – mirroring the fact that the first ChemDraw desktop version was developed for the Apple Macintosh platform – one of the first and most pivotal steps in the app’s development was Mike and Robin’s decision to assemble an in-house mobile app team rather than outsourcing the task to an external app developer. To accomplish this, existing internal talent within Informatics was selected and trained on the mechanics of building app software for the iPad iOS.

This approach, Robin explained, allowed for the app team to bring its scientific competency and chemical intelligence to ChemDraw for iPad, resulting in an app built by scientists for scientists.

The ability to build internally by training existing developers on a new system is a practice that is quite new to the informatics industry, Mike added. It allows for innovation by eliminating the mindset of migrating an app from one OS to another, replacing that mindset instead with the freedom to build from the ground up.

One of the coolest and scariest parts of the process, according to Robin, was seeing whether the internal development team would take to the iOS training. When the team rapidly scaled the learning curve of iOS development, it opened the door for the Informatics team to experiment with the platform.

As a result, 12 new patents have been submitted in relation to ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad, in which every single developer helped invent. The patents involve mechanics, algorithms and totally new ways of sharing data, Robin said.

The ripple effect of such a well-known brand as ChemDraw moving to mobile is that across the informatics industry, the dynamics of technology has changed, Mike said. Just as desktop software changed paper publishing, mobile apps will fundamentally change the manner and speed that scientists create and share information.

For the Informatics team, it’s motivational to know that the affordability of mobile apps will allow ChemDraw for iPad to impact a thousand-fold the number of current users of its desktop or enterprise software, Mike said.

Applying new technologies and getting the right tools into the hands of scientists and students to further scientific research is in keeping with PerkinElmer’s overall commitment to “Making a Difference” by improving human and environmental health.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about ChemDraw and Chem3D for iPad.

Check out ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad in the App Store.

ChemDraw® for iPad® allows for collaboration beyond the laboratory

It is with great fanfare that the chemical drawing software program ChemDraw, which has provided foundational informatics support for chemical laboratory and academic research for 25 years, has burst onto the mobile market with today’s introduction of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad.

The release of these mobile apps marks a major milestone for the informatics industry. ChemDraw commands the largest number of worldwide users of all chemical drawing programs, and the move to mobile opens the door for rapidly increased discovery and collaboration as researchers easily bridge time zones and geography to work together “on the go”.

ChemDraw for iPad uses novel Flick-To-Share™ technology to allow scientists to work together on structures instantaneously from directly within the mobile app. Developed by the PerkinElmer Informatics software development team, Flick-To-Share engages revolutionary gesture technology to allow team members to “flick” drawings back and forth with other app users with the touch of a finger. Flick-To-Share eliminates the need for multi-step emailing or cloud storage services to enable rapid, dynamic collaboration between researchers, colleagues, instructors and students.

Using the new mobile app for iPad, ChemDraw users can create chemically accurate, publication-quality structures and illustrations anywhere, anytime, with a variety of color and layout choices. Whether users are designing structures or describing reaction mechanisms, colleagues can instantly review and respond to drawings through Flick-To-Share collaboration.

Complementing ChemDraw for iPad, Chem3D for iPad provides an intuitive and interactive way to view high-quality 3D images of chemical and biochemical structures. Also operating with Flick-To-Share capability, scientists can easily share high-resolution, maneuverable images and drawings of DNA, RNA, proteins, assemblies, crystals and small organics using five different viewing modes: ball and stick, wireframe, cartoon, space filling and rocking.

To read full press release announcing ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad, click here.

To purchase ChemDraw for iPad in the App Store, click here.

For free download of Chem3D for iPad in the App Store, click here.

ELN advantage: patent reporting tool gives inventors an edge over competition


The patent law change made effective in March of this year, switching United States patent acquisition practices from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system, has resulted in a fundamental change in the way scientists and inventors must approach their research documentation in consideration of patent reporting.

The changed patent law brings United States patent regulations more in line with the rest of the world, resulting in a need for American companies to reassess which ways the use of an electronic laboratory notebook can be most beneficial in terms of experiment documentation.

While emphasis prior to the law change was on capturing timestamps and signatures within experimentss that resulted in novel invention, the newly enacted “first to file” rule means the pressure has switched from proving initial discovery to preparing laborious documentation as quickly as possible.

In the case of the Ensemble® E-Notebook, the functionality to facilitate expedited patent reporting has already been in place as an underlying capability for the last couple of years. While it will require some basic configuration, simple patent reporting tools can help shave a precious number of days off of patent filing preparation. The tools already present within Ensemble are not new, but the concept of using them to speed up patent reporting is. Early adoption of these semi-automated patent reporting tools within ELN will undoubtedly provide an immediate advantage over more traditional patent reporting methods.

After basic configuration, the ELN can be used to quickly and easily create compiled experiment documentation for use within a patent report. In this short tutorial video, Ensemble E-Notebook for Chemistry is used to demonstrate how existing ELN tools can be used to populate and export reports combining chemical synthesis experiments, resulting in a much faster patent reporting process.

If you would like assistance in performing the simple configurations necessary to create a patent reporting tool within your Ensemble E-Notebook, please reach out to our customer support team here.

Revolutionizing global health: Changing healthcare from reactive to preventative

 The blue line represents the lifetime cost of sick care vs. the red line cost of healthy care.

Even though the number of people living past 100 is increasing exponentially at the moment, for the first time in the last 200 years a child born in the United States has a lower life expectancy than his or her parents.

Two of the biggest health challenges facing modern society include cancer and cardiac disease. With ever-increasing knowledge and medical capability regarding disease prevention and treatment, the tools to reverse the decline of life expectancy lie within our reach.

Yet increasing life expectancy also means increasing medical expenses. The most medically expensive years of an individual’s life are the last five; by increasing the amount of time a person continues to age also increases the amount of money that person must spend to sustain life.

When it comes to health and longevity, there are many interesting relationships occurring in today’s society related to lifestyle. Countries with the highest energy consumption rates are topping the charts with lowest life expectancy. The average number of calories consumed daily has increased more than 50 percent in the last 40 years.

These figures strongly suggest that food addictions to products such as sugar and corn, which comprise a large proportion of foods found on today’s modern grocery store shelves, are playing a devastating role in the decline of health and life expectancy.

To combat these circumstances, we must revolutionize the way we approach healthcare today. Instead of practicing medicine reactively by treating symptoms and diagnoses, a cultural change needs to be made so that as a society, we embrace preventative, personalized healthcare. By spending more money and energy upfront to understand an individual’s personalized environmental health risks, the long-term effect is longer life and decreased medical expenses through effective disease prevention.

Join experts and peers on May 8 and 9, 2013, in Newton, Massachusetts in attendance of the Revolutionaries for Global Health Summit. The summit, hosted by PerkinElmer, will feature numerous presentation tracks focusing on subjects relating to global health, such as next generation sequencing, in vivo imaging, targeted small molecules, tissue and cellular imaging, proteins and biologics, informatics, epigenetics, cellular and tissue imaging, and biotherapeutics.

Click here to watch a video PerkinElmer Life Sciences and Technology President Kevin Hrusovsky give a presentation on modern health trends at a previous RGH Summit.

Complete your free registration to attend RGHS in Newton here.

Use hashtag #RGH13 to follow related discussions on Twitter.