Using modern software and IT tools to boost efficiency and scalability in the life sciences
Have you stopped in the middle of manually processing complex biological data within an Excel sheet, and thought to yourself, there must be a better way to do this?
Well, if you have, you’re right. There is a better way.
The overarching goal of the Software & IT Architecture team at BioLizard is to apply modern software and IT tools to biological projects, in order to improve their efficiency and scalability. There is a lot of potential for smart use of software and IT to bring new insights, and save time and money in the wet lab – and the unique mix of data science expertise combined with detailed biological knowledge of BioLizard’s Software & IT Architecture team makes them perfect for this job.
Bridging the gaps between IT professionals, biologists, and data scientists
The diverse backgrounds and skills of the Software & IT Architecture team allows them to not only flexibly adapt to each new project, but also to effectively act as ‘translators’ between different stakeholders in life sciences companies. In the case of team lead Erik Vandeputte, ever since he graduated from the University of Ghent with a degree in computer science, he always kept his focus squarely on dealing with data. However, before joining BioLizard, Erik worked in a variety of sectors – from social media and advertising to finance – in both start-up and scale-up environments. One thing that was common across this variety of sectors, according to Erik, was that they “were at the brink of being disrupted by the leverage that big data offered.”
So, how did Erik find his way towards data as it exists in the biological sciences? It was quite some serendipity. Between reading about the many scientific breakthroughs in biology such as CRISPR and personalised medicine, and hearing from his flatmate about the challenges of writing code to interpret biological data, Erik saw that his skills could be put to great use in the world of biology.
What is more fulfilling in life than to work on health, something that affects every human on this planet at some point in their life?
That’s what Erik has found at BioLizard, where he started out as one of our first employees. As a bioinformatic scientist, he met his goal of rapidly becoming familiar with the industry, by working with multiple clients at the same time. Erik’s background in computer science has helped him support his colleagues and clients from the very beginning. He says, “I learned that the field of biotechnology is a very multidisciplinary, albeit complex one to navigate. Even when you bring experts in different fields together, it often becomes difficult to collaborate, because the experts cannot sufficiently understand each other’s field. It is exactly that gap that BioLizard aims to fill, by bridging the gap between IT professionals, biologists and data scientists.”
Leveraging state-of-the-art software and IT tools for data-driven insights
Nowadays, Erik Vandeputte is leading the Software & IT Architecture team, which focuses on leveraging software to improve efficiency and scalability, as well as designing a robust environment to accommodate that software.
“There is a wide range of IT work my team can support our customers with,” says Erik. Together, they have worked on a wide range of projects that involved everything from developing a software application to interpret the results of a complex biological pipeline from scratch, to creating web platforms that managed the processing of wet lab samples, to discussing the design of a new system for scaling up in silico workflows. When Erik and his team are done, there will be no more need for mind-numbing manual trawling through Excel sheets pressing command-F, command-X, command-V until the day is done.
The software and IT architecture team: (left to right) Steven Deleye, Steff Taelman, Erik Vandeputte, Jimm Pype, and Florian De Temmerman.
Sometimes the work that the Software & IT Architecture team carries out also reaches beyond setting up new systems to interpret and manage data. When customers are not sure how to implement or standardise best practices for coding by their own employees, Erik and his team have been able to advise on how to create future-proof strategies. “Next to this,” Erik adds, “We manage and advise on cloud infrastructure as well. This involves making sure that bioinformaticians or computational biologists have a frictionless cloud experience that allows them to run their computational pipelines or perform their analyses, while at the same time implementing best practices around security and cloud operations.”
Altogether, leveraging state-of-the-art software and IT tools can not only provide new data-driven insights, but can also ensure that your data is easier to manage, share, and report on – giving you that little competitive advantage that can sometimes make all the difference.
To learn more about what the Software & IT Architecture Team can do for you, you can also read this case study, about how they supported one of our clients in bringing a revolutionary new technology to market.