FAQ
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DO I ACCESS THE ECL?

Enthusiasm from the scientific community to access the ECL has been overwhelming since we announced the system - thank you for your interest! We are committed to making the ECL available to everyone via the Internet, but capacity in the lab is limited at the moment. We are aggressively expanding the capacity of the ECL and in the meantime are metering the influx of users to ensure that turnaround time for your experiments is as fast as possible. If you’d like to get access to the ECL, please sign up to reserve your spot on the wait list right away and we’ll be in touch to set you up with a login as soon as possible!

WHAT EXPERIMENTS CAN I RUN ON THE ECL?

The full list of experiments currently available on the ECL can be found on our Lab Experiments page. We are dedicated to bringing all of the standard life science experiments online at the ECL and strive to have full coverage of over 100 different types of experiments available soon. It is our sincere desire to bring back a world where scientists' work revolves around ideas and interests rather than access to equipment or manpower.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO USE THE ECL?

The ECL charges by experiment on a per sample basis with no minimum transaction size. Prices can vary depending on the type of experiment and the detailed parameters of the assay. Charges are calculated as each experiment is entered in the system and take into account materials usage, time on instrument(s), amount of waste produced, and setup and teardown time. Discounts are available for academic customers and pre-revenue start-ups, and volume discounts are automatically provided to every account so prices drop with increased usage.

HOW ARE SAMPLES HANDLED AT THE ECL?

Samples can be mailed to and from the ECL (priority shipping is available) and standard sample containers are mailed to users at their request for easy packaging of material. On-site samples can be stored at room temperature, 4 °C, -20 °C, or -80 °C, with prices depending on the volume of the storage container. Mammalian cell lines are maintained in a CO2 incubator at 37 °C and can be placed in or thawed from long term cryogenic storage on request. Bacterial incubators with shaking agitation for liquid culture at 37 °C are also available, and yeast incubators at 30 °C will be made available shortly.

HOW ARE EXPERIMENTS DIRECTED BY THE USER?

The ECL's interface allows users to remotely access every experimental parameter as if they were standing in front of the instrument. The primary technical challenge in bringing the ECL online was developing the Symbolic Lab Language (or SLL), which is a framework that Emerald has built over the last five years for describing how experiments are conducted in advance of their execution without any ambiguity. The web interface provides both an easy-to-use graphical user interface, as well as the ability to type SLL commands directly into a notebook document. A RESTful API is currently in development for easy integration of the ECL into third party applications.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET RESULTS?

Once an experiment is executed online, it enters our system immediately. Capacity on the instruments is limited at the ECL, but we are being careful to limit the number of users on the system such that the turnaround time for each experiment is a matter of days (and ideally within 48 hours).

HOW CAN I TRUST THE RESULTS?

Individual experiments can be difficult to analyze in a vacuum. As scientists, we understand that it is critically important that our users can verify that each instrument is working properly, that all source materials have undergone proper Quality Control (QC), and that controls are being run on a regular basis. To this end, we provide total access to all experimental controls, sample QC, maintenance logs, sample histories, and environmental data through our linked data system. Our intention is that running experiments remotely in the ECL should be no different than being in the laboratory yourself.

HOW IS DATA ACCESS CONTROLLED?

Our users' data is available to them online and can also be downloaded in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Excel, PDF, PNG, and CSV. Data objects are kept strictly confidential and stored in the cloud using Amazon's RDS and S3 services. Just as in clinical laboratories, the team which tends to robotic setup and teardown before and after each experiment is blinded to the contents of every sample run through the system. Data access controls are provided to enable users to selectively share data with colleagues or to publish it online. All data is stored for one year free of charge, after which there is a nominal charge per gigabyte to recoup storage costs. However, if you choose to release your data publicly, it will be stored in our publicly accessible database and made available online free of charge.

WHAT TOOLS DOES THE ECL PROVIDE TO VISUALIZE AND ANALYZE DATA?

A full suite of visualization, analysis, and simulation tools are provided to ECL users, all accessible through a web browser. The ECL offers over 1,000 independent functions for data manipulation and is powered by the Wolfram Language, which offers an additional 3,500+ functions for visualizing and manipulating scientific information.

WHAT LEVEL OF BIOSAFETY DOES THE ECL SUPPORT?

The ECL can currently accept samples up to Biosafety Level (BSL) 2. The ECL system is designed to ensure best practices in the handling of both biological and chemical samples to protect both users' experiments and our team members.

HOW DOES THE ECL HANDLE IP (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY) RIGHTS?

We firmly believe scientists should always own the rights to their own experiments, regardless of the laboratory where they are conducted. The data from any experiments run in the ECL, as well as the rights to any material sent to the ECL or created using the ECL, belong to the user. Our Terms of Service further spell out these rights in legally binding terms and are agreed upon when new accounts are created.