Ars Botanica as a Biomedical Tool

The biotechnology industry is in a stage of rapid development, particularly in the Pittsburgh region, which has such an intensive focus on health care and health services. Spurred by newly founded educational collaborations, students are graduating primed for entrepreneurial ventures in order to gain a foothold in this developing industry alongside industry giants. The undercarriage of this industry lies in the plants and other biological organisms from which exotic compounds are extracted for use in the development of innovative medicines. Established industry has always had an advantage in this arena as the development of analysis systems necessary to understand the volume of data gathered in the process of straining, selection has always been too costly an undertaking for startups. Facilitating a deeper understanding of the relationship between biological specimens and their environment via a medium that allows for networked collaboration would change the parameters of biomedical development in academic research, startups, and leading industry.

With these objectives in mind, the structure for a system has been developed which would create a fertile bed for the development of biotechnologies. This system, which has been dubbed "Ars Botanica", is designed to facilitate botanical research in laboratories of any scale. Keeping in mind the flexibility needed to address a wide variety of factors, many of which may not be immediately foreseeable, is fundamental to the way the system operates. Being implemented as a web-based system, it offers researchers the ability to collaborate from anywhere in the world - sharing as much or as little of their research as necessary, even to the level of isolated viewing privileges for specific individuals. This will allow large companies to easily work with contractors on individual products from a company's holdings as well as giving independent researchers in academia the opportunity to collaborate without jeopardizing sensitive data. Ultimately, through the use of forums for public and private discussion, an active community of individuals will begin to emerge which will represent some of the most informed and advanced biotechnological researchers anywhere. Many new methods of recording and analysis can be available to this audience via the unique nature of the system and the medium, and companies that perform niche functions can emerge to further stratify the industry along the various development lines which have traditionally be undertaken by single entities.