Cytocentric Blog

The GBSI BioPolicy Summit 2017 – Changing Scientific Tools for Better Reproducibility

This years’ GBSI BioPolicy Summit, in San Francisco, was focused on digital tools, technologies and automation. It was an interesting array of approaches to changing the way that biological experimentation is performed, inside and outside of the laboratory. 

Different approaches to improving reproducibility from planning experiments all the way through execution, analysis, and collaboration were there. Automation, of course, was an important component. Robotic lab operations were presented by new enterprises such as Open Trons, iBioFAB, and HackScience, as a way to improve reproducibility and save time. Outsourcing experiments entirely, through Science Exchange or Transcriptic, may be a useful approach for study replication efforts as well as discovery. Tetrascience is extending the Internet of Things to the laboratory to help predict catastrophic events, like freezer failure, before they happen. It will be interesting to see, five years from now, which of these varied approaches are the most fruitful.


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Cytocentric Visionaries: Elizabeth Iorns

Measuring Scientific Reproducibility: The Only Way to Check It Is to Run the Studies


Elizabeth iorns is a Co- Founder and CEO of Science Exchange, a scientific service provider network and outsourcing management software platform.

Here Alicia Henn, CSO of BioSpherix, interviews Dr. Iorns about the Science Exchange and how it is working to improve Scientific Reproducibility. The transcript was edited for length.


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Three Reasons Not to Use 21% Oxygen In Vitro

You can finally control the gases around your cell cultures chambers and controllers and are all ready to jump into experiments, but where do you start? One study people often report is the comparison of physiologically appropriate oxygen levels with 21% oxygen.


Here’s why that isn’t such a good idea.



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Part Two: Reproducibility and Cell Culture Automation: To Be the Human or Not To Be?

In Part One, Dr. Henn talked with Dr. Alan Blanchard of Thrive Bioscience about automation of manual cell culture processes and how that can improve reproducibility.

Here, they discuss whether it is better to mimic the human technician or not. The transcript was edited for length and clarity.


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Cell Culture Automation for Reproducibility: People Never Do the Same Thing Twice

Alan Blanchard is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder, along with Thomas Forest Farb, of Thrive Bioscience. They are working to provide a fully automated system for cell culture. Thrive systems use programmable image capture, analysis, and fluid handling, all under incubator conditions.

Here Alicia Henn, CSO of BioSpherix, interviews Dr. Blanchard about how automation technology might help scientific reproducibility. The transcript was edited for length and clarity.


Alicia Henn: We see you as a Cytocentric Visionary because you are working to bring automated cell handling into a safer and more physiologically relevant environment for cells. So why automate? What’s wrong with how scientists have always done things? It’s worked so far.

Alan Blanchard: Cell culture processes have been stagnant for sixty years. It’s still done manually, even the mundane task of changing the media. In this day and age, doing anything manually needs to be updated, especially with the increasing importance of cell culture.

Look at the cell culturist’s problem. You can buy a microscope that fits in an incubator or you can buy a fluid handling system, but you still need a person to get in there to do manipulations. Unless you automate the entire process from beginning to end, you haven’t really helped the cell culturists. So we see a real need to automate.