FastFinder: Quick reference card
Welcome to FastFinder, a state-of-the-art Artificially Intelligent software trained to analyse qPCR data specific to individual assays. This guide takes you from installation to completed setup of your FastFinder Laboratory environment.
For more detailed instructions, please refer to the User Manual, available on our website and within the software Help section, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
FastFinder is distributed centrally via email to a user in your laboratory (usually your Laboratory Manager) who can then add unlimited new users by email in turn. As a new user, you will receive an email from email@example.com from which you can access the software as follows:
- Open the email titled Your FastFinder credentials and click the link shown as “this link” within the text. You will then be taken to a webpage in your browser.
- Enter a strong password in the boxes provided and select confirm.
- You will receive a second email with two links, click the link marked Download to download the software
- Follow the wizard to complete installation
Having successfully installed the software, you may proceed to complete the setup of your FastFinder laboratory described below.
If you are restricted from installing FastFinder, repeat the steps described above making sure to either select Current user in the FastFinder installer window or seek the assistance of your local administrator.
Add your devices
FastFinder is designed to resemble your laboratory and, as such, all of your real-time PCR devices can be added to the software enabling each instrument to be managed and traced individually. All that is required is a data file from each device you would like to add.
To add a device, perform the following steps:
- Select the Devices button from the upper pane in FastFinder.
- Click the Add button in the left-hand pane.
- In the pop-up menu, click Browse and navigate to the folder containing your data file.
- Select the appropriate data file and click Next; FastFinder will detect the device-specific information and update automatically.
- Repeat for all additional devices.
Add an assay
Assays can be added and managed within the Assays page of FastFinder. Select Add in the left-hand pane and select the assay from the list that follows to add it to your laboratory environment. Which assays appear in this list is determined by your relationship to the assay’s developer. For commercial assays, the plug-in can be requested via the kit manufacturer.
Setup an assay
Because FastFinder gets its information directly from the data file, the software can detect the assay, mastermix and controls to automatically determine the plate layout as it was run on the cycler. In order to do so, the software requires ‘name tags’, information about the naming convention of your samples it uses to discriminate between mixes and sample types:
- To assign the relevant wells as a quantification standard, positive or negative control, the sample names must begin with a set of characters (the Prefix) used as identifiers and added into the assay plug-in under Sample type nametag(s). Select the pencil icon and the + sign in the pop-up window that follows to add name tags as required.
- To assign the relevant wells as separate mixes in a multimix, multi-well assay, the sample names must end with a set of characters (the Suffix) used as identifiers and added into the assay plug-in under Mix definition type nametag(s). Select the pencil icon and the + sign in the pop-up window that follows to add name tags as required.
If you are unable to add the correct prefix or suffix on the cycler software or during LIMS export, simply select all samples as required from the Table view at the plate setup stage, Edit sample names and add name tags to your samples manually as required. Clicking the Detect assaysbutton will then automatically setup your plate.
Colour compensation files
For devices that require a colour compensation file, simply navigate to the Colour compensation file section of that device in FastFinder and select the + icon. In the pop-up window that follows, Browse to the file location and add the data file. Ensure to select the correct subset of samples used for compensation if applicable. You may then link the file to all relevant assays.
Adding lot numbers
For each assay in your FastFinder environment, it is possible to add lot numbers and provide tracking criteria for a target of your choice. Doing so will allow automated Quality Control per instrument, per lot number in a statistically controlled manner according to the Westgard Rules.
- Navigate to the correct assay in the Assays page of FastFinder.
- Select the + icon under Lot and provide the lot number and expiration date in the pop-up window that follows.
- In the Next window, specify the target, that it is a positive or negative control and choose a method for setting a baseline Cq measure. Floating statistics will set the value automatically after the number of analyses you specify in the box provided. Fixed statistics will apply manual criteria for mean Cq, SD or CV as desired.
Add new users (Only for labmanagers)
FastFinder allows you to create an unlimited number of user accounts and define virtual roles (Functions) in a standalone Admin module accessed from the software. In this way, laboratory managers can control who can access the software and what tasks they can perform to allow you to reflect your own team and workflow.
- Access the Admin module via the Go To Admin button in the Help page of FastFinder.
- Log in using your FastFinder credentials.
- Manage users by selecting Overview or functions by selecting Function Management from the Users drop down menu.
- In the Overview menu, select Add and provide the name and email address for the user in question. It is recommended you select the Lab Scientist option for all users but the laboratory manager and system administrator. New users can then setup FastFinder as above.
- In the Function Management menu, select Add and provide a name for the new function (e.g. Technician Band 3). Adjust the permissions for the new function in the User Authorisation menu in the Settings page of FastFinder.
Adjust laboratory settings
Within the Settings page of your FastFinder environment, users with the requisite permission can control aspects of your laboratory workflow for you and your users. Examples include:
- Utilisation of a Two-step validation workflow that automates the requirement for certain users to conduct a first review and approval of your results and authorisation by a second reviewer. Set as on or off the Two-step validation option under Laboratory settings
- Utilisation of a QC Module that automates statistical process control (SRC) by reagent lot and instrument. Set as on or off the QC option under Laboratory settings
- Define which of four Westgard Rules are applied as part of SRC of your workflow by setting on or off each rule under QC Settings
- Configure a path for output of files for export to your LIMS from FastFinder under the LIMS Settings menu
- Set proxy settings under the Network Configuration
Performing an analysis in FastFinder is simple. Beginning from the Analysis page, Browse to your data files and check your assay configuration to get to your analysed data in four clicks.
Access any data from any sample from link in the sample name and save any data as reference curves to assist your future analyses. Specify FastFinder exports and filter your laboratory’s Archive on date, outcome, instrument and many other criteria to bring automation to all areas of your laboratory while placing you in control.