The Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR), housed within the Knight Cancer Institute, is part of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Their phenomenal work centers around researching new methods to detect and eliminate lethal cancers early.
CEDAR is one of the largest labs at OHSU, and what makes it unique is that they have a project oriented structure. Instead of being P.I. based, all researchers are able to propose a project and apply for funding. Once approved, they assemble a team of their liking, regardless of tenure or experience. Also unique, they have a multi-disciplinary team with a variety of specialties (engineers, biologists, chemists, computationalists, biorepository, population geneticists - to name a few). So with that, you can only imagine how many projects they have going on at once. At the time of this story they had just over 100 in progress with a few more in the pipeline! That’s why, Lab Manager Jakki Martinez says, Quartzy is so vital to their programs.
CEDAR started using Quartzy when there were just about 10 people in the lab and they’ve exploded to somewhere around 150 employees (and only 2 lab managers!). That means Martinez has a huge job to do.
“Quartzy has been a life saver as the center has grown and grown and grown. It works really well with our structure because there’s a bunch of research projects that all have a different project budget and then all those project budgets all have a project account number. It's the best thing in the world that people can add requests in Quartzy and put the project number in the specific grant I.D. field, so that when I go in to order things at the end of the day, I know what account to charge for what.”
Martinez also mentioned how helpful it is to be able to tag people in their request if they leave that portion blank.
Another challenge Quartzy helps solve - the drive-by “where’s my stuff” lab managers tend to get while walking through the lab. “Sometimes I'll be walking through the lab and someone stops me and says, ‘Hey Jakki, I'm waiting for these tubes that I requested that you ordered. When are they coming in?’ I don't know what they’re talking about, and I don't remember these tubes. So I tell them to go on the request on Quartzy and tag me in it in a comment and I can look it up from there.” This process is lightyears ahead of the back-of-the-napkin (literally) or whiteboard requests some labs are currently struggling with.
CEDAR is lucky enough to have a huge facility (an entire floor), which can adversely cause some unique challenges when it comes to inventory. “With us having such a large lab, it's really helpful when I received something in lab and I mark it as received, I can put in Quartzy exactly where I put it away. I can't tell every single person every day where I put their stuff. I'm also going to forget really quickly. So it's really cool that I can record that on Quartzy in real time while I'm doing it."
CEDAR utilizes Quartzy’s fully customizable lab inventory manager, which lets you track every important detail for any lab supply or lab-made material to improve communication. They’re able to notify users when their requests have come in and where the items are. Additionally, Quartzy hosts catalog data from leading brands so even if your item wasn’t ordered through the Quartzy shop (like many of CEDAR’s aren’t), you’re able to add them to your inventory.
“I think it's really cool that Quartzy already knows information about items, whether it's in the Quartzy shop or not. I can just put it in the part number and they already know what item it is and from what vendor. “
Researchers can also utilize this feature when requesting items.
A few more features Martinez doted on: being able to tag people in requests for additional collaboration and communication, and the ability to hop between groups/labs within the Quartzy app. “We have a few accounts and I like how I can see all of them. We have one group that's separate from everybody else, so we keep their orders separate. We also have general supplies as a separate account which has things that anybody can use."
Quartzy can’t wait to see what comes out of CEDAR next and is humbled to have even the smallest part in improving the communication and productivity of the CEDAR lab members and their life changing work.