A cloud-based software platform and portable file format to enhance reproducibility, collaboration and translation of stem cell research.

Period of Performance: 09/15/2017 - 04/14/2018


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Cellara, LLC
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


Project Summary Stem cell research has shown great potential to help treat or even cure a wide array of health conditions, including cardiovascular and neurological disease, cancer, and diabetes. This field is now beginning to move rapidly from the re- search stage to clinical translation and commercial applications. However, it has been widely recognized that stem cell scientists have difficulty replicating protocols between laboratories, creating a significant barrier to progress in the field. While digital information systems such as electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) and laboratory information management sys- tems (LIMS) have proven to be highly effective for assisting in reproducing complex protocols in other fields and contrib- uting to the overall efficiency of research work, considerable barriers prohibit adopting these tools within the stem cell field due to the complexity and unusual structure of the data generated. As a result, virtually all stem cell researchers con- tinue to plan and document their work using paper-based methods such as lab notebooks, making it extremely difficult to accurately and efficiently share protocols for replication studies. In this STTR Phase I proposal, Cellara (Madison, WI) proposes to address this issue through the development of a novel software platform called CultureTrax. During the proposed research project, we will develop specific new features for the platform designed to create a standardized electronic format for transferring stem cell protocols between laborato- ries and facilitate the efficient and accurate reproduction of those protocols. We will perform a controlled pilot research study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the platform with its new features for protocol transfer. Finally, we will carry out a survey of potential users of the platform to assess its perceived importance, the customer interest level, potential barriers to adoption and new features that might be developed in future research. The long-term objective of this work is to create a global standard information system for stem cell scientists that will permit them to easily share stem cell protocols with collaborators or as a part of the publication process, improving the ability of other labs to replicate their work and enhancing efficiency and progress throughout the field. By releasing criti- cal scientific information from paper lab notebooks into formats that are readily available for collaborative use and data mining, we anticipate significant contributions to realizing the promise of stem cell technology to improve human health.