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This article is part of the supplement: Italian Society of Bioinformatics (BITS): Annual Meeting 2005

Open Access Research article

MicroGen: a MIAME compliant web system for microarray experiment information and workflow management

Sarah Burgarella, Dario Cattaneo, Francesco Pinciroli and Marco Masseroli*

Author Affiliations

BioMedical Informatics Laboratory, Bioengineering Department, Politecnico di Milano, piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6(Suppl 4):S6  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-S4-S6

Published: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Background

Improvements of bio-nano-technologies and biomolecular techniques have led to increasing production of high-throughput experimental data. Spotted cDNA microarray is one of the most diffuse technologies, used in single research laboratories and in biotechnology service facilities. Although they are routinely performed, spotted microarray experiments are complex procedures entailing several experimental steps and actors with different technical skills and roles. During an experiment, involved actors, who can also be located in a distance, need to access and share specific experiment information according to their roles. Furthermore, complete information describing all experimental steps must be orderly collected to allow subsequent correct interpretation of experimental results.

Results

We developed MicroGen, a web system for managing information and workflow in the production pipeline of spotted microarray experiments. It is constituted of a core multi-database system able to store all data completely characterizing different spotted microarray experiments according to the Minimum Information About Microarray Experiments (MIAME) standard, and of an intuitive and user-friendly web interface able to support the collaborative work required among multidisciplinary actors and roles involved in spotted microarray experiment production. MicroGen supports six types of user roles: the researcher who designs and requests the experiment, the spotting operator, the hybridisation operator, the image processing operator, the system administrator, and the generic public user who can access the unrestricted part of the system to get information about MicroGen services.

Conclusion

MicroGen represents a MIAME compliant information system that enables managing workflow and supporting collaborative work in spotted microarray experiment production.