Developed multi-user n-tier database systems for laboratories, laboratory information management systems (LIMS).
Served multiple industries including Healthcare, Public Health, Pharma, Environmental, Petrochemical and more.
Jason joined the STARLIMS team when it was still small, around a dozen employees working together in small offices in the Presidential Circle office building in Hollywood. STARLIMS was an Israeli Company whose headquarters and founder, Itschak Friedman, were located in South Florida, serving mostly US clients. Mr. Friedman had a very unique and dynamic approach to the never-constant needs and requirements that differed from lab to lab, from industry to industry. Rather than creating fixed software that was the same across deployments, he created a multi-dimensional toolbox of LIMS functionality, based on a dynamic and multi-dimensional data model.
Jason performed Business Analysis, Project Management and Product Management deploying LIMS systems at large scale laboratories, improving efficiencies for our clients. His role with the company was shaped mainly by his synergism of analytical science knowledge and his knowledge of the STARLIMS data model. This gave him the ability to collaborate with laboratory stakeholders, iterating against solutions he knew the product could achieve. Many successful implementations were guided by the requirements Jason helped stakeholders affirm. The development process for software of this caliber is referred to as GAMP, Good Automated Manufacturing Protocol. Adhering to it wasn’t just a requirement of the industry, it was a wise way to avoid disagreement and other excuses for cost overruns.
Jason innovated and added many major components of the core STARLIMS product synergizing laboratory experience with data modeling. He credits Itschak for impressing upon him the power of rapidly deploying data models and interfaces to solve complex multi-user problems. Where so many system designers and programmers were crawling, Itschak showed Jason how great it felt to run, how to run in the right directions, and how to run fast. Itschak’s product and approach were brilliant, each project was exciting for Jason to run with, to see produced, delivered and complete.
Soon Jason was trusted with the role of Product Manager, overseeing the evolution of some of the core components in the STARLIMS dictionary of functionality, travelling a great deal, often with Mr. Friedman to laboratories and public health offices all over the USA. It was a time of rapid learning. Itschak impressed upon him : “The idea is what’s important, more important than it’s execution. You can get programmers from all over the world, and they’re waiting for great ideas.” Mr. Friedman showed him enormous trust, allowing Jason to take his core product in some bold directions, growing its functionality, adding new dimensions of abilities to the product, making it more valuable for laboratories.
Among the innovations Jason’s able to list, the biggest changes he contributed to STARLIMS’ core functionality were:
- Scalar and Exponential Unit Conversion – The ability to convert one unit of measure to another, for example converting Fahrenheit values to Celsius values, converting miles to kilometers, or parts-per-thousand to parts-per-billion. The STARLIMS system had the ability, previously, to work unit conversion into specific formulas, manually, but this was the first time the units and conversion factors were stored in the database. This allowed calculations to take place in database queries, increasing application speed by reducing the total number of queries necessary for operations, a requirement Mr. Friedman reinforced religiously.
- Recipe Management – Traceability of reagents and instruments is critically important in analytical chemistry. Advanced LIMS systems are used to keep track of laboratory reagents and equipment with as much attention as actual laboratory samples. Jason leveraged the unit conversion features and designed functionality within STARLIMS to build a library of recipes and then instance them when real aliquots were mixed. This not only helped the scientists prepare and label the aliquots accurately, but also gave precise traceability to all materials used in testing no matter how complex their parentage is.
- Spec Schemas – When a sample passes through a laboratory data is gathered from testing. That data is assembled into reports and scientists draw conclusions on that data based on comparing the results to specifications, high and low limits. These high and low limits are often called specs for short. Samples being tested aren’t the only things that have specs within the course of producing scientifically credible results. Often there are samples spiked with known amounts of what’s being tested, check samples to make sure the process is being done right. There are also samples used to calibrate the machines and samples used as controls, blanks. Each of these different types of samples, required to prove the precision and accuracy of testing batches, have their own specifications, often reported in different units and with different kinds of limits being rendered by the samples being tested. Calibrants and Quality Control Spikes come from recipes, and need to have their parentage traceable. They also need to be flagged differently to scientists when they fall outside their normal limits. Jason designed a way for STARLIMS to automatically handle all these things in a methodology he called Spec Schemas. Programmers and engineers quickly adopted it into their STARLIMS projects because it solved so many of their most classically complex problems all at once, so simply. This advanced feature facilitated the automated flagging of problems, another big step towards full laboratory automation.
Specific domestic projects Jason managed of note included: Centers for Disease Control, Exxon Mobile, Nutrasweet, CAS Labs, and Public Health Departments for the States of Maine, Iowa, and Arkansas. Jason supported and trained diverse teams from Israel, Ukraine, Romania, Malaysia, India, Peru, France, England, and Venezuela, evangelizing the product benefits to lab stakeholders and the developers collaborating with them.
STARLIMS grew several orders of magnitude during the years Jason was employed, growing from $2M to $10M/yr in revenue. As Jason moved to his next opportunity, STARLIMS was in the process of going public. The company went public on the NYSE and was later purchased in whole by Abbot Laboratories.