Article Type

Full-Length Paper

Publication Date

March 2013




In a biomedical engineering lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, co-author Dr. Glenn R. Gaudette and his research team are investigating the effects of stem cell therapy on the regeneration of function in damaged cardiac tissue in laboratory rats. Each instance of stem cell experimentation on a rat yields hundreds of data sets that must be carefully captured, documented and securely stored so that the data will be easily accessed and retrieved for papers, reports, further research, and validation of findings, while meeting NIH guidelines for data sharing. After a brief introduction to the bioengineering field and stem cell research, this paper focuses on the experimental workflow and the data generated in one instance of stem cell experimentation; the lab’s data management practices; and how Dr. Gaudette teaches data management to the lab’s incoming graduate students each semester. The co-authors discuss the haphazard manner by which engineering and science students typically learn data management practices, and advocate for the integration of formal data management instruction in higher education STEM curricula. The paper concludes with a discussion of the Frameworks for a Data Management Curriculum developed collaboratively by the co-authors’ institutions -- the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute -- to teach data management best practices to students in the sciences, health sciences, and engineering.


biomedical engineering, data management, case study, stem cells, coronary heart disease, regeneration, heart, paper lab notebooks, instruction, experiment

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Copyright © 2013 The Author(s).

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Figure 1a.tif (6023 kB)
Mesenchymal stem cells on suture

Figure 1b.tif (7007 kB)
Higher magnification of stem cells

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Microthread implantation

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Delivery of stem cell suture to heart

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Image to determine regional heart function

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Heart tissues with areas of trichrome staining (multiple images)

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Single image of heart tissue with trichrome staining

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Healthy heart tissue stained for actinin