New Online Lab Network at UCSF

This morning UCSF’s McCormick lab announced the launch of LabCollaborate, a new website with the goal to “provide a way to easily share data, ideas and generally foster communication between labs as well as provide some useful tools for running the lab.”

I signed up to learn more about how it works. Here is what I have learned so far:

1. Lab Home Page: This is the page you see when you sign in. All the lab members profiles appear across the top, and you can see individual contact info and research interests (as well as update your own) by clicking on the pictures. As the first person to sign up the lab, you are an “admin”. Admins can add/remove lab members, edit library files and approve/delete friendships with other labs. You can extend these powers to any other user by clicking “Make admin” on their profile. If you want to.

2. Whiteboard: Here you can post comments or questions- they will be seen by your lab as well as your lab friends, but not by labs you are not friends with.

3. Friends: These are labs you want to keep in touch with and share data with. They can see and download all protocols, presentations and papers in your Library (unless marked “visible to my lab only”) as well as write on your whiteboard. A newsfeed to keep updated with what they’re doing is coming soon.

4. Libraries: These are collections of papers, presentations and protocols. Files can be tagged with keywords to organize into projects, ideas, lab members, whatever. And they are searchable! So you can group any number of protocols, literature references and presentations by whatever tag(s) you choose and find them all later with a simple search.

5. Ordering: The ordering system records vendor, quantity, and description as well as providing a direct link to the product page. It is also searchable to easily find past orders. Admins can mark orders as placed and the time of initial reqest and placement is recorded.

6. Find collaborators: The search box at the top of the page searches for words in the research interests of all labs and lab members on the network. So if you want to find other labs interested in “cancer”, just search and connect with new friends.

I am wondering whether – at some point – we can leverage the information LabCollaborate provides to enrich UCSF Profiles, and how on other hand LabCollaborate  can benefit from the UCSF Profiles data (tools).

I guess our tech team is aware of this. Looking forward to getting your thoughts, guys.

2 thoughts on “New Online Lab Network at UCSF

  1. I signed up for this as well, a few months ago. I played around only briefly, and was trying to figure out how to use the product / site. I kept getting stuck, which could be because I am not truly a member of a lab.

    Since I’ve signed up though, there are many more labs that show up in the list of labs at UCSF. This in and of itself is interesting as something is prompting people to go in and sign up. I am very curious as to why folks are doing this.

    1. how did they find out about the service?
    2. what do they hope to do once they sign up and establish their lab?
    3. are they actually using it? if so, how often and for what?

    I agree with Katja that it would be interesting to see how and if there could be benefit from cross UCSF Profiles / Labcollaborate work.. but really do need to find out what gap Labcollaborate is actually filling for our investigators first.

    How can we figure this out… wondering if we have any partners or connections in any of the more ‘active’ labs on Labcollaborate. For example, there appears to be a difference in level of engagement that can be seen in the McCormick lab (many photos of people in the lab and many ‘friends’) versus the Balmain lab (no photos yet, fewer friends) on Labcollaborate. Many more labs on Labcollaborate seem to look like the Balmain lab, than the McCormick lab. What’s going on in the McCormick lab and how might they be using this service? Are they also using UCSF Profiles?

  2. Hi Leslie,

    Great questions. I can share how I found out about LabCollaborate. I received a UCSF “All acad” email which was sent out to ~8000 people with an academic appointment at UCSF. I’m sure they’ll use other communication channels as well.

    I’m wondering whether you could find some of the postdocs on LabCollaborate who we’ve worked with in the past. They might be able to help us understand why and how they are using the tool.

    As for the difference in activity, I understand that the tool was developed by the McCormick lab which may explain the high level of engagement on their end.

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