April 2, 2024
1 min

Samuel Using Ascenscia in a Biosafety Cabinet

About Sam

In this blog, we are proud to showcase the remarkable journey of Samuel Feldmann, a Researcher at UMC Utrecht.

Samuel completed his Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Utrecht University, driven by his curiosity and interest in human health and Life Sciences. He started with a passion for chemistry and evolved later into biotechnology, biotherapeutics, and immunotherapies throughout his university. This journey led him to gain his initial research experience within the Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery group at Utrecht University. There, he delved into the critical role of complement receptors in transporting immune complexes, fundamental to the functionality of our immune system.

Currently, he is immersed in a research endeavor within the Center for Molecular Medicine at the university hospital, focusing on the DNA mismatch repair system, particularly prevalent among certain cancer patients. Their work, predominantly centered on whole genome sequencing, aims to unravel the genetic ramifications of alterations in this repair mechanism. Eventually, his research project led him to start exploring new methodologies and techniques in the field of proteomics.

While being grateful for his journey so far, Samuel believes that academic research is fundamental, and does not always lead to practical applications. Motivated to turn scientific findings into meaningful solutions, he aims to connect theory with real-world benefits.

Samuel shared with us his inspiring career goal:

"My career goal is to bridge the gap between academic research and real-world benefits by facilitating drug development and bringing new therapies to the market. With this goal in mind, I am now doing a Master's in Science and Business Management, aiming to transition into the biotech industry."

Lab challenges

As a scientist, Samuel has experienced firsthand the challenges posed by the lack of digitalization in scientific labs, particularly in data sharing and collaboration. Although Samuel’s lab has access to an ELN, not all researchers use it, as some still prefer using pen and paper.

“In my opinion, the major problem with the lack of digitalization is that it hampers collaboration. If I’m starting a new line of experiments, I like to start off by checking if someone has already done something similar, what results they have gotten, and where I can find all the necessary reagents. If protocols, results, and reagents were shared, accessing this information would be much easier.”

But even if everyone in Samuel’s lab used an ELN, shared lab journals within departments might remain incomplete due to the considerable effort required to keep them up to date. Usually, scientists do not have time to log their notes into the ELN mid-experiment, as this would require them to pause the experiment and exit the highly sterilized lab to access their laptops. Or worse, write down their notes on a sticky note. In both cases, many scientists will have to allocate a whole day each week to just put their notes in the ELN. In addition to the time loss that this causes, data loss is also inevitable.

The life of a scientist is active and eventful. From attending conferences and weekly meetings to running experiments, analyzing data, writing papers, and much more. The daily tasks of research can feel like a burden at times. This was the case for Samuel as he worked in the BSL-2 lab.

BSL-2 labs, or Biosafety Level 2 labs, are facilities designed for working with moderately hazardous biological agents or toxins. Such labs have specific safety protocols and equipment. For Samuel, note-taking in this environment used to be a logistical nightmare since it required constant breaks and disinfection procedures. He elaborated: “I conduct a significant portion of my experiments in a BSL-2 lab, where we handle viruses and other potentially harmful pathogens. This necessitates strict safety measures such as working in a flow cabinet and wearing gloves. So, taking notes during my work is extremely overwhelming because it requires me to interrupt my workflow and quickly write my notes. And it doesn’t stop there, Once I finish writing down my notes, I must repeat all the safety measures of disinfecting my hands before continuing my experiment.”

Samuel found the efficiency of his research process hindered by the repeated interruptions for documentation. Luckily, his journey took an unexpected turn when he crossed paths with Ahmed, the CEO of Ascenscia, at an event. Ahmed introduced him to Ascenscia’s voice assistant.

Using Ascenscia

“When I saw Ahmed’s presentation of Ascenscia and learned that I could finally take my notes without interrupting my experiments, I was immediately hooked. After the presentation I walked up to Ahmed and expressed my interest in trying out Ascenscia. Since then, my note-taking process has completely changed thanks to Ascenscia”, Samuel said.

As he delved deeper into using Ascenscia, Samuel discovered a newfound sense of efficiency and focus in his work. Ascenscia allows him to instantly capture his observations, with high accuracy for scientific terminologies, without disrupting his workflow and empowering him to concentrate fully on his research tasks. In addition, the fact that Ascenscia seamlessly integrates with ELNs saves Samuel so much time since he doesn’t need to manually log his dictated notes into the ELN after the experiment. Ascenscia brought Samuel a sense of relief, sparing him hours of manual documentation that he can now use on his scientific research.

Before using Ascenscia

Samuel struggled with interrupted workflows each time he needed to take a note. This made him lose precious time and got distracted from the experiment

While using Ascenscia:

Now Samuel receives a step-by-step guidance from Ascenscia on his workflow and can dictate his notes directly into the ELN while staying focused on his experiments.

Future thoughts

Looking ahead to the lab of the future, Samuel envisions voice technology playing a pivotal role in enhancing experiment accuracy, reproducibility, and efficiency. He shared his inspiring vision:

“In the lab of the future, voice technology plays an essential role. In the data documentation aspect and enhancing scientific reproducibility."

Additionally, he believes that the use of voice technology in scientific labs can go beyond just documenting data.

“As lab automation and AI are progressing, I believe voice assistants have the potential to not only connect scientists with their lab journals but also with their lab devices, which would greatly increase the efficiency and accuracy of experimentation.”

Samuel's journey showcases the essence of creativity and passion for scientific exploration. His commitment to using technology for positive change reflects Ascenscia's goal to empower scientists and drive progress in research labs. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Samuel for sharing his insights and expertise with us.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories about scientists interacting with Ascenscia!

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