SLAS2016 Short Courses

Getting Started with Excel and VBA in the Laboratory (Laptop Required)

This is a computer course. All participants are required to provide their own computer with Excel 2007, Excel 2010 or Excel 2013 (preferred) installed with the full Help documentation. Power will be available.

Excel is widely used in scientific laboratories to automate tedious data manipulation and presentation tasks. This course will review many of the tools built-in to Excel for handling problems commonly encountered in the laboratory. It will also introduce the Visual Basic for Applications scripting language as a way to customize Excel and expand upon its functionality.

Who Should Attend

This short course is for bench scientists, laboratory managers, and students interested in automating basic laboratory tasks using Microsoft Excel and its scripting language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The course material is targeted at beginners having no prior experience with VBA. A practical knowledge of the use of Excel is required and familiarity with a procedural programming language such as C, Java or BASIC is advantageous.

How You'll Benefit From This Course

Course Topics


William Neil

William Neil
Princeton, New Jersey

William Neil received a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology from Trenton State College in 1981. For several years he worked with the Toxicology Division of Mobil Oil Corporation where he developed his interest in computer programming and laboratory automation. In 1987 he wrote his first application to automate data collection from a liquid scintillation counter and installed his first robotics system to automate a Packard biological oxidizer. He then took a two-year sabbatical to focus entirely on laboratory automation at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), where he automated fragrance sample compounding. It was at IFF where he learned how to ensure a 24/7 operation. William has been employed in the pharmaceutical industry since 1995, where he has written several applications in Visual Basic and VBA to automate the Drug Discovery process, particularly in the area of instrument integration.

Martin Echols

Martin Echols

Martin Echols received a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Denver in 1976 and a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Martin has worked in a variety of laboratory environments, both as a consumer and provider of automation for the laboratory over the last 20 years. In that time Martin has designed and implemented numerous automated systems and provided networked solutions for automated data acquisition and transport.