Erwin Seinen Says the Paper Lab Notebook Is Finally Dying with eLabNext


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By Harry Glorikian. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

If you walked into a typical life science research lab at a university or a biotech startup, you might be surprised to see how much paper is still laying around. A lot of researchers still keep records of their experiments and studies in paper notebooks—in fact, along with doctor’s offices, life sciences labs might be one of the last bastions of professional life that surrenders to digitization.

But these labs are surrendering. And Harry's guest this week, Erwin Seinen, is helping to accelerate that shift. He’s the founder and CEO of a company called eLabNext, whose core product is a Web-based software platform called eLabJournal that includes tools for inventory and sample tracking, managing experimental protocols and procedures, and recording experimental results.

Seinen spent years building e-commerce tools before he went back to school and got his degree in medical genetics. So he knew how to write software, and to streamline his dissertation work, he built his own electronic lab notebook tool. He says his lab colleagues were so jealous that he realized every lab researcher needs a similar tool. And that’s how eLabNext was born.

But when absolutely everything goes digital, there’s the danger of losing the special connection between mind, pen, and paper that goes with making old-fashioned handwritten notes. Harry talked with Seinen about that, as well as his vision of how an electronic lab notebook can fit together with other lab tools in an era where there’s just too much data to print out everything on paper. If companies and universities manage this transition right, they can benefit from all the latest digital tools—without sacrificing any of the spontaneity, curiosity, or creativity that good science is all about.

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101 episodes