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Customer Testimonial: How Climb is Modernizing in vivo Research at Jackson Laboratory 

RockStep is proud to work with innovative organizations like the Jackson Laboratory to help advance life sciences research.

For over 90 years, the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) has worked toward a singular mission of advancing scientific discovery to shape a new era of human health. JAX has hosted 26 Nobel laureates and is a pioneer in using laboratory mice for human disease modeling. Today, JAX employs more than 3000 people across three countries—their diverse array of initiatives is working to solve some of the most daunting diseases we know of, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia, among others.   

To properly harness the power and scale of their organization, JAX realized they needed a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach in their research laboratories. RockStep Solution’s cloud-native research management platform, Climb, was chosen by JAX researchers to address several unsustainable legacy processes, including the archaic use of pen and paper in many of their in vivo labs. We’re excited to be a part of JAX’s commitment to supplementing their immense expertise in animal research with innovative technologies and process-enhancing solutions. Dana Maddocks, a colony coordinator with JAX describes the reality of his work before Climb. 

[Our] Previous management methods were pen and paper. Climb has helped with accuracy; its automated workflows help cut down on common errors. 

That’s one of the things I really like about Climb- I use the cage cards, and our lab is set up with barcodes and scanners. When I wean mice out, I scan the barcode, and the workflow that I created is assigned to that mouse, automatically.    

Climb eliminates many wasteful, manual data entry and transfer tasks, reducing human error and freeing up our team to focus on the science.” 

– Dana Maddocks, Colony Coordinator, Jackson Laboratory

The MODEL-AD Center is an international Consortium of researchers working to develop, validate and disseminate new, precise animal models of late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It was created in 2015 to support the National Alzheimer’s Project Act’s goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s Disease. In order to make substantive breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s treatments, researchers needed animal models that better predicted clinical results. Kevin Kotredes, an Associate Research Scientist working in the MODEL-AD Center describes the center’s chaotic shared drive where study data was dumped, and wasted time spent reformatting and transposing data from disparate spreadsheets and notes before Climb was implemented: 

Before the implementation of Climb in our laboratory, we were using a database of individual and collective spreadsheets which required significant efforts to maintain (formatting multiple copies, sharing, edits, etc.). Since migrating our organization to Climb, we have found that our records are far more organized and require much less effort to find, update, and share. 

Tasks that might have required a full 8-hour day of transcribing into a spreadsheet can now be accomplished in real-time as our technicians work in the mouse room on multiple instances of Climb without worrying about overwriting, duplicating, or losing information entered simultaneously. Hence, this requires less reviewing and correcting subsequent errors.”  

– Kevin Kotredes, Associate Research Scientist at the MODEL-AD Center, Jackson Laboratory

The enhanced efficiency benefits are not exclusively limited to colony and animal management. Climb allows researchers to design and execute multiple, diverse studies concurrently, with more confidence that their data is accurate. This reliable, reproducible animal data further reduces the time for potential therapeutics to advance in the pipeline. Program Manager Candace Baker explains the importance of using a configurable system and how it allows her to focus on running her research:

Before Climb, I tracked all of these [workflows] with stickie notes on my computer. We implemented Climb early on in this project, and I was able to transition away from the stickies rather quickly. 

I knew my methods were not sustainable, and that’s when I had one project, albeit a very, very big project. So now that that has finished; I have five projects that I oversee… I’ve got a diabetes project, an aging project, a kidney failure project, it’s all over the place–and without having this [Climb] I would not be able to do the diverse amount of studies that I can.”  

– Candice Baker, Program Manager, Jackson Laboratory

Assistant Professor Ron Korstanje Ph.D., FAHA, is working to reduce chronic kidney disease due to normal aging, a project that requires Dr. Korstanje and team to work with numerous, genetically diverse lines of mice. Dr. Korstanje found that by implementing Climb, his team could better manage multiple concurrent studies that featured complex experimental protocols and more efficiently allocate their laboratory resources.   

“Adopting Climb has improved our lab’s efficiency and makes it possible to simultaneously manage multiple experiments, coordinate resources, and conduct complex protocols. In addition to having a great product, their support team is fantastic. Climb is clearly a leader in lab animal management systems!”  

– Ron Korstanje Ph.D., FAHA, Assistant Professor, Jackson Laboratory

With five campuses in three different countries, JAX needed a robust collaboration platform that supports on-demand access from anywhere. A future-focused cloud-native platform like Climb provides secure access using modern technology, allowing for seamless collaboration from all locations. 

Gary Churchill, Ph.D., Professor, Karl Gunnar Johansson Chair, The Jackson Laboratory, was involved in exploring a different LIMS system. In the end, Climb was the solution that delivered the necessary results his team needed.  

We tried a large on premises LIMS, and it failed to meet our need to share data across multiple sites. RockStep Solutions stepped up to the plate with Climb, and their expert data wrangler team worked directly with our phenotyping team to help address our needs.  

Our lab now runs more efficiently, and we are getting more science done!” 

– Gary Churchill Ph.D., Professor, Karl Gunnar Johansson Chair, Jackson Laboratory

RockStep is proud to work with innovative organizations like the Jackson Laboratory to help advance life sciences research.  We built Climb, our cloud software for in vivo studies, to help unlock the value of preclinical data and accelerate research to advance breakthroughs that improve patients’ lives.

Learn more about modernizing your organization’s in vivo research with Climb or request a free demo today!

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