fly olfactory learning and lab meta-analysis

By Julien Colomb | June 11, 2018

In 2007, I entered a lab doing mainly one experiment: olfactory learning assay in fruit fly. The output of the experiment is the number of flies choosing one or the other odor, recorded manually on spreadsheets. For the 14 people in the lab, they were approximately 20 different spreadsheets around. We managed to create one tidy template for all experiments in about 6 months. Interestingly, it took 2-3 of us to design the first draft, we then gathered feedback from the whole group, get a second version and so on. I think version 4 got good enough for everybody. It took another 2-3 months for people to actually use the template, and it mainly worked because the PI wanted to be able to do meta-analysis (checking score of wild type animals through time).

It had other benefits, since we had a couple of burst of collaborative work when the assay was not working properly (looking for variables to get better scores in the wild type animals) and the use of a standard sheet helped a lot.

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From Julien Colomb,, Researcher (biology)

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