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User-Friendliness, Cost Were Key to OSU Lab Decision to Use Syngene's 2D Gel Software

Oklahoma State University’s department of entomology and plant pathology has chosen Syngene’s Dymension 2D gel-analysis software after comparing it with several other packages, Syngene said this week.
Robin Madden, senior research specialist in the department of entomology and plant pathology at OSU, told BioInform that her lab evaluated GE Healthcare’s ImageMaster and also considered Nonlinear Dynamics’ Progenesis products, but said that the primary deciding point was the user-friendliness and price of Dymension.
Madden said that ImageMaster offered the best analytical capability, “but it’s not user friendly,” she said. “We have graduate students in the lab, we have people from all over campus come in to use this software, and I don’t have time to train these people on this software.”
Separately, OSU’s Recombinant DNA/Protein Resource Facility chose the ImageMaster software.
Steve Hartson, director of the facility, said that the lab just purchased the software, so he’s had very little experience with it. However, he noted that so far, he’s experienced “thorough introductory training” from GE Healthcare's field specialists.
As for Nonlinear Dynamics, Madden said his lab is “very pleased with that, but because we are a state university, bids have to be in by a certain time and they just didn’t get their bid in on time, so we were not allowed to competitively look at their software at the same time we were looking at these other software packages.”
The biggest selling point for Dymension, she said, “was that anybody off the street can come in and sit down and use it. They have this wizard that you pull your gels in and it opens everything up and it’s really very simple to use.”
Madden noted that 2D gel analysis is a time-consuming, labor-intensive task, even with automated software.
“The 2D software is not trivial, because there’s so much variability associated with a 2D gel run,” she said. “Even with the Dymension, the Imagemaster, the Nonlinear — every program that you have, you have so much user input that you have to put in for the final manipulation of the gel.”
Madden said that even the best packages have trouble identifying some protein spots, and may break a spot apart when it’s actually a single protein or combine separate proteins into a single spot.
“There is a lot of user input required for the final gel analysis,” she said. “I don’t know if any of the programs are perfect yet. We’re still hoping that they’re working on it.” 

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