eLabBlog

Using ChatGPT Wisely with Your Lab Work

By Zareh Zurabyan 6 min read 06 Jun 2024

Generative AI (GenAI) and ChatGPT are here to stay. There are an incredible number of accessible AI assistants, including CLAUDE.AI, Microsoft CoPilot, LLAMA, and others,  for immediate implementation into professional workflows. These technologies have changed the way many people do their job, improving efficiency.  

Many in biotech and pharma are slowly but surely jumping on the bandwagon. Just look at Moderna’s recent announcement of integrating ChatGPT across all of its business functions.

For the broader life science industry, learning how to use these new tools and leveraging them in our daily lab operations to optimise data access and insight will be very rewarding in the coming years. 

If you’re entirely new to GenAI, fear not; I’ve created a short list of 10 immediate use cases and action items for leveraging ChatGPT for your lab’s work.

Before getting into it, remember that ChatGPT is not the end-all, be-all (for now, anyway!). It is simply a companion tool for your work. Treat it as such, and always verify and validate your work.

#1. Literature Review and Research Assistance

ChatGPT can help researchers quickly sift through vast amounts of literature to:

  • Summarise key findings from relevant research papers.
  • Extract specific information such as methodologies, results, or conclusions from scientific articles.
  • Identify gaps in existing literature and suggest areas for further exploration.
  • Provide insights into the latest trends and developments in biotech research.

Action Items

  • Provide ChatGPT with specific keywords or topics to search for relevant literature.
  • Request summaries or analyses of selected papers to extract essential information.
  • Ask ChatGPT to compare and contrast multiple studies on a particular topic to identify common themes or discrepancies.

#2. Experimental Design Optimisation

Researchers can use ChatGPT to:

  • Brainstorm ideas for experimental designs based on research objectives.
  • Optimise experimental parameters such as sample size, concentration, or incubation time.
  • Explore different methodologies or approaches to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Evaluate the feasibility and potential limitations of proposed experimental designs.

Action Items

  • Describe the research goals and variables to ChatGPT and request suggestions for experimental designs.
  • Seek feedback on proposed methodologies and ask for alternative approaches or optimisations.
  • Use ChatGPT to simulate experimental conditions and predict potential outcomes before conducting actual experiments.

#3. Data Analysis and Interpretation

ChatGPT can assist in data analysis by:

  • Performing statistical analyses on experimental data.
  • Interpreting results and identifying trends or patterns.
  • Generating visualisations to represent data effectively.
  • Providing insights into the significance and implications of research findings.

Action Items

  • Input raw data or summary statistics into ChatGPT and request specific analyses (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA, regression).
  • Ask ChatGPT to explain complex statistical concepts or methodologies used in data analysis.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to explore alternative interpretations of experimental results and validate conclusions.

#4. Protocol Development and Troubleshooting

Researchers can seek assistance from ChatGPT to:

  • Develop detailed protocols for experimental procedures.
  • Troubleshoot technical issues encountered during experiments.
  • Guide on optimising experimental workflows and minimising errors.
  • Suggest alternative methods or approaches to overcome experimental challenges.

Action Items

  • Describe the experimental procedure or issue to ChatGPT and request step-by-step protocols or troubleshooting tips.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to refine existing protocols and streamline experimental workflows.
  • Seek advice from ChatGPT on equipment selection, reagent preparation, and quality control measures.

#5. Hypothesis Generation and Validation

ChatGPT can aid researchers in:

  • Generating hypotheses based on existing data or literature by feeding it into the system.
  • Evaluating the feasibility and testability of proposed hypotheses based on already existing experiments
  • Designing experiments to validate hypotheses and generate empirical evidence.
  • Iterating on hypotheses based on experimental results and feedback from ChatGPT.

Action Items

  • Discuss research objectives and available data with ChatGPT to generate novel hypotheses.
  • Request assistance in designing experiments to test specific hypotheses and predict expected outcomes.
  • Analyse experimental results in collaboration with ChatGPT to validate or refine hypotheses and formulate new research questions.

#6. Documentation and Report Writing

ChatGPT can help researchers with communications efforts, such as:

  • Drafting research proposals, experimental protocols, manuscripts, and reports.
  • Ensuring clarity, coherence, and adherence to scientific writing conventions.
  • Editing and revising written documents for grammar, style, and content.
  • Incorporating feedback from ChatGPT to improve the quality and impact of written communications.

Action Items

  • Provide ChatGPT with an outline or key points to include in the document and request assistance in drafting specific sections.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to refine language and structure, ensuring the document is clear, concise, and scientifically accurate.
  • Use ChatGPT to generate figures, tables, or graphical abstracts to enhance the visual presentation of research findings.

#7. Expert Consultation and Collaboration

ChatGPT can bring researchers together by: 

  • Connecting with experts in specific fields or disciplines.
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange.
  • Seeking advice and insights from experts on complex scientific questions or challenges.
  • Fostering a collaborative environment by integrating ChatGPT into research discussions and team meetings.

Action Items

  • Describe the research topic or question to ChatGPT and request recommendations for experts or relevant resources.
  • Use ChatGPT to facilitate virtual meetings or discussions with experts to exchange ideas and seek guidance on research projects.
  • Incorporate input from ChatGPT and external experts into research planning, experimental design, and data interpretation.

#8. Biological Data Mining and Analysis

ChatGPT can assist in mining large amounts of data. It can help:

  • Access and analyse biological databases to extract relevant information.
  • Perform genomic, proteomic, or metabolomic data analysis.
  • Identify patterns, correlations, and biological insights from large datasets.
  • Integrate data analysis results with experimental findings to derive meaningful conclusions.

Action Items

  • Provide ChatGPT with specific queries or datasets and request data mining and analysis assistance.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to interpret complex biological data and identify potential relationships or trends.
  • Use ChatGPT to explore bioinformatics tools and methodologies for data analysis and visualisation.

#9. Regulatory Guidance

ChatGPT can aid you in:

Action Items

  • Discuss regulatory concerns with ChatGPT and seek guidance on best practices and compliance requirements.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to develop protocols and procedures that adhere to regulatory guidelines.
  • Use ChatGPT to stay updated on relevant regulations, policies, and guidelines from regulatory agencies and professional organisations.

#10.  Continual Learning and Knowledge Expansion

Researchers can use ChatGPT as a learning tool to;

  • Stay updated on the latest advancements and discoveries in biotech research.
  • Explore new research areas, methodologies, and technologies.
  • Enhance understanding of complex scientific concepts through interactive dialogue and exploration.
  • Access educational resources, training materials, and scientific literature to support professional development.

Action Items

  • Engage ChatGPT in discussions about emerging topics or trends in biotech research and request relevant resources or references.
  • Use ChatGPT to explore online courses, webinars, and workshops on specialised topics to expand knowledge and skills.
  • Collaborate with ChatGPT to develop personalised learning plans and set professional growth and development goals.
  • Regularly interact with ChatGPT to ask questions, seek clarification, and deepen understanding of scientific principles and methodologies.

Conclusion

To utilise AI, GenAI, large language models (LLMs), and machine learning (ML) wisely, it is essential to have structured data to input into the system. If the data is not clean, the insights received from the tool of choice will not have the level of trust that you need for ethical science practices. 

If you’d like to learn more about Digital Lab Strategy, read our comprehensive article on Digital Lab Strategy or schedule a free personal demo with our team.

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