Webinars | Caterina Barillari 




Dr. Caterina Barillari
Research Informatics
ID Scientific IT Services
ETH Zürich

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Caterina Barillari works as Software Application Specialist in the Scientific IT Services of ETH Zurich.  She works primarily with openBIS, an open platform for managing scientific information, which supports research data workflows from bench to publication. Whilst originally developed for managing large data generated in the life sciences, its generic underlying structure makes it amenable for use also in other disciplines. Since 2014, Caterina has been managing the development of the ELN-LIMS plugin for openBIS. This is a new user interface that extends and facilitates the usage of the openBIS platform as Electronic Laboratory Notebook and Laboratory Information Management System. The scientists of ETH Zurich who currently use the system are the prime driver for the development of this plugin.

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16th March 2017 (14:00 – 14:45 GMT) : “openBIS ELN-LIMS: an open resource for academic laboratories”

Nowadays, most data produced in academic scientific laboratories is in electronic format, but experimental procedures are still often documented in paper laboratory notebooks. Linking the data to the procedures in this way is not straightforward and this often makes retrieval of relevant information in the mid and long term very problematic. Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) are becoming increasingly popular in replacing paper laboratory notebooks. However, only the combination of an ELN with a data management platform and a laboratory information management system (LIMS), which is used to manage samples and standard operating procedures, allows users to keep track of the complete history of the work performed in the lab, from bench to publication. Keeping track of this history is a requirement for reproducibility of published results, which is fundamental for scientific progress. The open-source software openBIS ELN-LIMS combines these requirements in a single platform, which is specifically tailored to academic life science laboratories.


openBIS ELN-LIMS comes with a default configuration which suits the majority of biological labs, but this can be easily modified and tailored to the needs of each single lab. Parent-child relationships between all entities in the database ensure full history tracking. A storage manager allows tracking of biological and chemical samples. Measuring instruments can be directly integrated, thus allowing direct transfer, annotation and storage of data in the database. The system is also integrated with BLAST, for sequence similarity searches within the database, and with PlasMapper for on-the-fly generation of plasmid maps from fasta files. To ensure that the creation, modification or deletion of any electronic record is traceable, computer-generated, time-stamped audit trails are used to record the date and time of the user’s intervention. In addition, data uploaded in the system is immutable, and as such all modifications made to the original data must be uploaded separately using version numbers. Last, access to the system is restricted to authorized users, who can have different roles. All these features are in accordance to the FDA regulations for electronic records.