A team-based contest for creative IT solutions
A Lab Exchange Drupal Module for UCSF
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT. Managing unique scientific research materials is a problem faced by almost all labs at UCSF. In addition, sharing between labs is difficult since there is no common inventory system, or method of keeping potential collaborators up to date on the materials available among UCSF labs. Here we describe an easy solution for sharing lab resources among collaborating labs and larger networks. In short, we will build a Drupal module that will allow scientists to communicate their sharable reagents.
Sharing is ‘opt-in’: An important aspect of our proposed Lab Exchange Module is that sharing is based on an “opt in” basis. In this way, investigators can choose to share what they want, and keep other materials private. It parallels the UC-wide mouse sharing system developed by Gail Martin.
Building upon a pre-existing infrastructure. This proposal builds upon an existing infrastructure built by the McManus Lab. This infrastructure has been in place for over five years and has already been distributed to other labs around UCSF. It is composed of several simple applications that are used to track information on various lab reagents within a single lab. These reagents include antibodies, DNA vectors, and cryovial data, all of which are tracked and maintained in an internal database using the Drupal Content Management System.
A broad impact for thousands of UC scientists. The existing system is currently only developed to share among members within a single lab. This single-lab system is currently available to all labs at UCSF through an Acquia:UCSF hosting contract. Our plan is to network this system, and once integrated, it will generate a broad impact among thousands of UCSF investigators. By nature, this system is scalable, meaning that it can exist outside of UCSF if desired.
How does it work? This project aims to broaden the McManus Lab infrastructure from single lab websites to multiple lab websites by pulling data from a central repository. The contributing lab controls who they share their data with via a “grouping” function. Specifically, sharing will be on reciprocal basis within groups. The group founder (owner of a specific reagent) will manage group membership for that reagent. In addition to groups, information can be shared to all of UCSF regardless of group. In lay terms, this means a lab can choose to share a specific reagent with one or more of the following: 1) a small project team composed of several UCSF labs, 2) all labs within a program or department, 3) all of UCSF, and 4) potentially among the entire UC network. For the end user, all of this can be accomplished by simply checking a box on the lab reagent page.
DELIVERABLE. We will build an open source Drupal Lab Exchange module that allows labs to share reagents within their allocated networks.
IMPACT ON UCSF'S MISSION
- Saves time and money, since labs don’t need to recreate or repurchase existing UCSF reagents
- Enhances cooperativity and collaboration among labs at UCSF
- Improves productivity, since scientists can focus more time on experiments rather than building reagents
- Distributed reagents are in essence a backup for lost reagents (e.g. lab contamination, natural disasters)
TEAM MEMBER PROJECT ROLE
John Kealy Web Admin/Programmer/Tester
Michael McManus Project Coordination/Adviser/Web Admin/Tester
Khang Nguyen Web Admin/Programmer/Tester
ESTIMATED TIME DEVOTED BY EACH TEAM MEMBER. Kealy, 40 hours; McManus; 10 hours; Nguyen, 30 hours.
We welcome input and suggestions. If you'd like to participate on this team, please contact one of the existing team members.