Using AI to Speed up the Area of Excessive Content material Evaluation

On this interview, we converse to Maggie Vantangoli Policelli, head of selling at Araceli Biosciences, about their newest product the Araceli Endeavor, and the way it’s revolutionizing the sector of excessive content material screening.

Please are you able to introduce your self, inform our readers about your position at Araceli, and what impressed you to decide on a profession within the life sciences?

My identify is Maggie Vantangoli Policelli, and my position at Araceli is the Director of Advertising. I began with the corporate as a Product Supervisor earlier than transferring into this position. I’m presently chargeable for heading up all of our product growth, outbound advertising and marketing, purposes, and scientific growth.

My profession in life sciences stemmed from inspiration in center faculty. I had an outstanding science trainer. He made up songs for each matter to make them memorable, and I used to be enthusiastic about going to his class day-after-day.

I believe that pleasure stayed with me all through the remainder of my coaching, and I made a decision to go to high school and research biology. I went to graduate faculty pondering I want to educate in school. I labored in the direction of this, for some time however quickly realized that it was not the place I wished to be. I ended up as an software scientist, touring the Western a part of the US, doing bits of instructing, science, and gross sales. Finally, I fell into this position and this area.

Araceli Endeavor

Picture Credit score: Araceli Biosciences

You might be presently exhibiting on the SLAS ’22 convention. Are you able to inform our readers extra about what you’re exhibiting there?

We’re showcasing our new firm Araceli Biosciences and our flagship product, the Araceli Endeavor – a model new excessive content material screening instrument – and our Voyager software program.

These merchandise are designed round altering the excessive content material area from one thing that may take hours to scan plates to one thing that we are able to do in 10 minutes or much less for each single cell and each nicely in multi-well plates.

Our group at Araceli has many years of expertise in each excessive content material screening and imaging.   The excessive content material screening area has been fairly stagnant, and there simply has not been an enormous revolutionary product on this area thus far. The Endeavor is that product.

Why is the Endeavor platform important for all times sciences analysis?

In my final job, I used to be a area software scientist. I supported the Western United States and Canada, working with the entire excessive content material evaluation platforms by way of doing the demos, offering after-sales coaching, after which the entire ongoing buyer help for the {hardware} facet, the evaluation facet, and even some assay setup and downstream analytics that we didn’t essentially promote, however I helped with.

I used to be getting requested the identical questions over and over, prompting me to have a look at all of the platforms I had used through the years for prime content material evaluation and marvel why it’s so onerous to work with this course of and get good high quality information. There’s such a steep studying curve for the entire totally different components of the method – you need to be an professional in picture acquisition, an professional picture evaluation and in information visualization simply to be assured in your outcomes.

After we began growing the Endeavor, each single step of the method of constructing the {hardware} and the software program was primarily based on questions round what we may do in another way and whether or not we should always do it in another way.

We had been very lucky to start out with a group with out preconceived notions about excessive content material scanners or imaging platforms. Total, these advances imply that what we are able to do on Endeavor in 10 minutes nonetheless takes some platforms from 8 as much as 46 hours. What Endeavor brings to the business and what our prospects have been so enthusiastic about isn’t just its pace – the system can be easy to make use of.

We have now prospects that do screening as a service, and so they say that almost all of their staff should not capable of work on their very own on different platforms for as much as a yr. An intern who has by no means performed excessive content material screening earlier than may be up and working on Endeavor in lower than half-hour. This additionally hyperlinks again to the query about sustainability as a result of one Endeavor can do what 4 or extra different methods can do by way of throughput. This implies it’s not solely transformative by way of its footprint – as a result of lab area is at all times at a premium – however we’re additionally utilizing fewer digital elements that depend on uncommon earth components, and we’re minimizing energy consumption.

All of this liberating up of capability signifies that scientists can get again to doing science, understanding and advancing the literature, and pursing the following vital growth.

Araceli Endeavor: A New Era of Excessive Content material Evaluation

As a result of ongoing pandemic, many in-person conferences and exhibitions have been placed on maintain. Why is it important for researchers, firms, and organizations to collaborate and share concepts and improvements at exhibitions reminiscent of SLAS?

Within the final two years, everybody has realized how a lot we like being round individuals and the way that is so important to our work. Having conversations with individuals head to head, you provide you with concepts that find yourself being the following groundbreaking expertise.

I began working to develop Endeavor actually because the world shut down, and I used to be distant working and spending this time on Groups with my soon-to-be group, attempting to determine what we had been going to construct.

Essentially the most vital steps for this growth occurred after I drove all the way down to the workplace and sat and labored with my group. Persons are designed to work together with different individuals, and that is important for taking enormous steps ahead.

The COVID-19 pandemic has additionally highlighted the significance of innovation and collaboration on a world scale. How essential is innovation and collaboration to the life science sector, and what are some great benefits of researchers and corporations working collectively?

Life sciences as a sector is made up of firms who’re doing one thing very well. These firms meet at conferences and start to collaborate unexpectedly, resulting in large steps ahead.

For instance, the historical past of mRNA vaccines was crammed with gradual, little steps, constructing on prime of concepts and dealing collectively. That’s science on the whole – placing all of those disparate components collectively into one thing. All it takes is one particular person or one collaboration to show this business on its head fully. I hate to make use of the cliché, however we’re all standing on the shoulders of these earlier than us.

The life sciences sector has seen great developments in recent times and new expertise. How has this expertise reworked the life sciences sector?

Advances in expertise have led us to collaborate the world over by means of the web and computing, to the appearance of massive information. For us at Araceli, the work we’re doing with the Endeavor was not bodily attainable a few years in the past as a result of the cameras weren’t accessible, and nobody may deal with the quantity of knowledge we’re presently producing. All different excessive content material platforms had been restricted by the triangle of compromise – you may purchase information quick, however it wasn’t full protection or excessive decision. You can purchase excessive decision photographs, however you couldn’t do it quick over the entire nicely. Endeavor has modified that due to the massive advances in computing expertise in different sectors.

Expertise drives innovation in some ways, and now we’re speaking about firms, like Recursion, which are producing petabytes of knowledge. That quantity was not one thing any individual considered earlier than, and now they’re utilizing that quantity of knowledge in drug growth.

Expertise, on the whole, has flipped the life sciences business on its head. I can’t even take into consideration the place we’re going to be in 5 years as a result of we’re in such an exponential development part as a area.

Picture Credit score: PopTika/

One space of science to see explicit development is using synthetic intelligence, with increasingly firms trying to make use of AI to streamline their processes and pace up discoveries. Do you imagine we’ll see a continued curiosity in AI within the coming years, and what are your hopes for the way forward for AI? Are there any explicit challenges that must be overcome earlier than it’s generally used?

AI is a type of jargon-based phrases that everyone will get enthusiastic about, however not all people is aware of what it means in observe. I believe we’re going to see continued curiosity in AI as a result of, particularly within the drug discovery area, it’s already working. At Araceli, we’re using AI-based approaches as a result of we, like many others, have seen large enhancements in picture evaluation in comparison with conventional strategies. We’ve additionally been capable of harness these approaches in a manner that even probably the most novice person can generate high quality outcomes rapidly.

There are firms on the market placing large quantities of targets on the map by way of potential drug candidates, and with out these AI-based approaches, it may need taken one other 20 years to search out them, if we had discovered them in any respect.

I believe the problem with AI is identical problem that you just see in every single place else in science; reproducibility. It’s about the way you management what goes in, what’s popping out, and the way what’s popping out may be validated.

Years in the past, in my earlier job, once we began promoting an AI-based software program package deal, individuals had been very standoffish. I believe AI is turning into increasingly prevalent in our day-to-day lives, and persons are turning into increasingly comfy with it. Nonetheless, we nonetheless should put the controls in place to know that what’s popping out is nice high quality information, particularly when it’s probably a drug that may influence human life.

Statistics present that for each particular person on the planet, 270 gigabytes of healthcare and life science information will likely be created. We’re presently seeing increasingly firms and researchers adopting AI algorithms and cloud-based applied sciences to sort out the huge volumes of knowledge produced in analysis. How useful are these instruments for analysis?

I believe we’re going to see rising worth placed on that information. Whether or not it’s photographs, language information, or biometric information, this can be very invaluable if we all know the place the info is coming from and it’s nicely annotated.

With the ability to deal with that information, retailer it, have a look at it and analyze it, is important. I believe we’re seeing vital advances in expertise that can make this information extra accessible. That’s the focus of what we at Araceli convey to the area. We are able to purchase massive quantities of photographs, however we’ve got to know what to do with them and transfer them from the system into different areas the place individuals can work with them.

We predict we’ve got the answer with our platform for prime content material imaging, however it’s not simply excessive content material and even life sciences – in every single place has the identical downside.

As expertise continues to advance, do you anticipate to see increasingly breakthrough discoveries? Are there any particular sectors inside life sciences that individuals must be paying explicit consideration to?

I believe breakthroughs are going to maintain taking place. I imagine as we come out of COVID-19 and start to raised perceive the worth of human interplay and its significance to innovation, we’ll see large breakthroughs.

We have now already seen, with the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, simply how briskly these breakthroughs can come collectively. I believe we’ll see an actual acceleration of drug growth and therapeutic growth over the following a number of years. This pairs nicely with advances in large information. We’re producing extra information than ever earlier than. If we are able to harness this alongside these collaborative efforts, we can speed up drug discovery pipelines.

COP26 known as consideration to the significance of sustainability at each stage, together with science. Why is it essential to undertake sustainable practices? And what are you doing as an organization to assist enhance your carbon footprint?

As an organization, we began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we had been compelled right into a digital atmosphere with decreased commuting from the offset.

We made the aware resolution to deal with doing digital demos as delivery devices and transferring individuals unnecessarily round is horrible for the atmosphere, for instance, when driving a truck 1,000 miles to ship an instrument for a two-day demo. We have now flipped this course of, and as a substitute, we’ve got individuals sending us samples to research, decreasing our carbon footprint considerably.

As a society, particularly within the US, we have to do much more, so much sooner, concerning greenhouse gases. This may increasingly imply forcing firms to make adjustments and do what is correct for the atmosphere, not simply what is correct for his or her earnings.

I used to be educated as a toxicologist, and in Europe, plenty of animal testing is now prohibited on private care merchandise. Individuals don’t put plenty of thought into how a lot greenhouse fuel that course of produces. Transferring to a extra sustainable pipeline like a cell tradition atmosphere or in vitro atmosphere could make an enormous distinction in sustainability. There are such a lot of alternatives to alter and cease this.


Picture Credit score: Romolo Tavani/

What does the way forward for life sciences wish to you?

I believe we’ll see continued acceleration throughout the board and developments that will likely be blockbusters and game-changers. Massive information may have a big influence, rising digital and in-person interplay. I additionally hope to see much more collaboration throughout the sector.

I believe we’ll proceed to see massive firms collaborating – as a substitute of attempting to type a division for every part inside one firm, I believe we’ll see rising collaboration between consultants throughout totally different organizations.

The place can readers discover extra data?

About Maggie Vantangoli Policelli

Dr. Maggie Vantangoli Policelli is an skilled analysis scientist with a background in toxicology and fluorescent imaging. She earned her PhD from Brown College, growing and validating 3D tradition fashions for phenotypic toxicity testing of endocrine disrupting compounds. Following completion of her PhD, Dr. Vantangoli Policelli moved into business, supporting scientists throughout North America within the areas of fluorescent microscopy and excessive content material evaluation, significantly within the space of drug discovery and growth.Maggie Vantangoli Policelli

At Araceli Biosciences, she is driving the event and commercialization of latest applied sciences to revolutionize drug discovery. Exterior of labor, she may be discovered spending time along with her household, mountain climbing, and working her lower flower farm.

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