The ABRF Executive Board Election Results Are In!

Our Executive Board (EB) election was a very close race this year, in large part because we had such strong candidates. Thank you to each of the candidate for tossing their hats into the ring and for sharing their vision for our association. Thank you as well as to those ABRF members who voted and made a difference because your participation directly impacts our collective future.

It is my great pleasure to announce that Chris Lytle and Claudius Mundoma will each begin their 4-year term on the ABRF Executive Board immediately after ABRF2018 concludes. I invite everyone to congratulate them and get to know them a little better through 3 questions they have answered for us. Please also take time to read their Vision Statement, which is provided at the conclusion of their interview.

Frances Weis-Garcia
ABRF, President

After racing up Mt. Washington in June

Chris Lytle

What has been your favorite ABRF experience / is your favorite ABRF memory?

My favorite thing about ABRF is the networking. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the meetings, at an ABRF function, with vendors, or just out with a group on our own, the ability to network with old and new friends is invaluable to me. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned to my ABRF friends for help and guidance on the issues that come up at work. I owe much of my success to my network of friends from ABRF.

My fondest ABRF memory is the meeting in Memphis. I was co-chair of the GVRG and our study and presentation on the ability for NGS software ability to call heterozygous SNPs went well. Then there was the vender party held out at Graceland, and you can’t forget about the pulled pork at every meal. The ending social down on Beale Street was a blast. Yea, that was a great meeting!

If someone who does not know much about ABRF were to ask, “Why you are an active ABRF member?” how would you answer them? 

I think I inadvertently answered this question already. It’s the networking! When I meet someone who is starting up a core lab or working in one I always recommend they join ABRF. It’s an over whelming task to work in a core without a network of support. ABRF provides the foundation for the support and resources you need.

Lucy on one of our winter runs in fresh snow on the Appalachian Trail.

What do you do when you are not working at your day job or contributing ABRF efforts?

I’m an outdoors type of person. I run year-round with my Black Lab, Lucy. We run trails mostly and while this can be a challenge in the New Hampshire winters, its very beautiful. I am alpine ski instructor on weekends at the Dartmouth Skiway teaching the local youth. I also like to cross-country ski and snowshoe. This helps the winters pass quickly. The rest of the year I like to kayak, bike, and hike. I love to travel with my wife too. We have a trip planned to Germany soon and then one to Prague and Budapest later this year.

Click here for Chris’ Vision Statement which contains his professional background as well.

Traveling and seeking adventures beyond the beaten paths - with a lion!

Traveling and seeking adventures beyond the beaten paths – with a lion!

Claudius Mundoma

What has been your favorite ABRF experience / is your favorite ABRF memory?

There is nothing like the first time … My favorite ABRF experience was the very first time I attended the ABRF meeting held in Downtown Disney. What started off as a casual trip to a conference that also happened to be in Downtown Disney has turned out to be a career game changer. It is exactly three and half hours from office desk to the gates at Epcot. I can make it to Disney on half of a tank in my educator’s favorite car – the Prius. So, there really was no downside to exploring what the so-called ABRF National Meeting was all about. I am a morning person and, thus I made it to all the early morning plenary talks. I found myself attending all the sessions including the very last presentation. It was that good…

If someone who does not know much about ABRF were to ask, “Why you are an active ABRF member?” how would you answer them? 

When I attended the ABRF Conference in Disney, touring Disney became a distant second priority. The people I met at that ABRF conference were very engaging and generally, they spoke my language. The enthusiasm they had for their work was just palpable. It was so refreshing to finally meet “my kind of people”. From that day, I felt that being a Core Facility Director was not some type of “odd faculty position” but it was a THING! As a matter of fact, it was the THING I really wanted to do. I came to understand the endless possibilities of being a Core Facility Director. It offered opportunities to engage a broad spectrum of research groups on campus as they come through the core facilities with projects that ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other on complexity. I also had several discussions with “complete strangers” about intricate details of running the lab. Some even offered tips on how to deal with problem customers. Some offered tips on how to effectively engage vendors and negotiate service contracts pre- and post- equipment acquisition. The ABRF has offered that scaffold that I needed as I tried to make sense of the career path I had chosen and at the same time delivering as much value to the Florida State University research community as I could. Every day, I find opportunities to improve the way science research is carried out on campus.

What do you do when you are not working at your day job or contributing ABRF efforts?

Although I am very passionate about my work and everything Core Facilities – it is the tinkering that I do beyond the work bench that has enriched my experiences. As much as I enjoy core facility management, I enjoy starting small businesses. I get thrills from turning ideas into products. I enjoy turning ideas into services. I usually go beyond just creating “things” to creating a small business – complete with all the trappings that come with a branded outfit. Just a few months ago, my son and I were foraging through our backyard after the occasional Florida Hurricanes when we came across some very beautiful berries… We decided to pick them and make something out of them after we discovered that they were edible, and people were making jelly out of them. I decided to convert them into wine and thus I became a wine maker. This past holiday I was sharing my wine creations with friends and family. They now consider me a wine maker. Of course, I accepted the honor and played the part of a wine maker. I enjoy turning ideas into cool products and services. I feel that, what I do off the bench – creating products and services from ideas mirrors what I do at work.

I like traveling and seeking adventures beyond the beaten paths. Every summer I try to travel at least 2000 miles to familiar and unfamiliar places. I have started traveling with friends to these distant lands. I find that this regular travel rejuvenates me and provides an opportunity for introspection and reflection. I have enjoyed it.

Click here for Claudius’ Vision Statement which contains his professional background as well.

 

Data Management 101: Best Practices for Storing and Protecting Research Data

GW-Omicia-PositionC-728x90-BN-7-15

Date: December 7, 2017

Time: 1:00 pm ET

This online seminar will help lab directors and administrators gain a 101 understanding of file naming, data storage, and data management.

register here_green

Our panelists will discuss protocols for how to name your files, how to manage the storage of data – especially large file sizes – and how to protect research data. The seminar will include an update on the National Institutes of Health’s policies on data management.

Panelists:

EFogartyErin Fogarty
Information Security Specialist
Case Western Reserve University

 

 

Daniel Timmons
IT Director
University of Colorado Boulder
BioFrontiers Institute

 

 

Matthew Fenchel
Manager, Biostatistical Consulting Unit
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

 

 

This webinar will help lab managers understand the basics (and challenges) of managing data in a research environment and will demonstrate some of the best practices that work well for specific institutions.

 register here_green

More information on the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2017 Webinar Series is available here.  
Scheduling conflict? You can still participate! All registrants will receive a link to view an on demand recording of the event. 

 Questions? Contact genomewebinars@genomeweb.com    

GenomeWeb and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) have partnered for a second year to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. Special thanks to the series sponsor, PerkinElmer

 

 

A Balanced Approach to Assessing Return on Investment for Research Core Facilities

GW-Omicia-PositionC-728x90-BN-7-15

Date: November 14, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm ET

register_here_red

In these times of economic constraint and increasing research costs, shared resource cores have become a cost-effective and essential platform for researchers who seek to investigate complex translational research questions. Cores produce significant value that cannot be captured using traditional financial metrics. Benchmarking studies conducted by the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) and other organizations indicate that most research cores do not fully recover operating expenses. As such, these “operational losses” represent institutional investment, which, if well planned and managed, produce future returns for the institution’s research community that extend far beyond subsidized pricing.

Presenters:

smische

Sheenah Mische, PhD
Senior Director of the Division of Advanced Research Technologies (DART) and
Associate Professor of Pathology at NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

 

 

 

Justine Karungi, MBA, FACHE
Assistant Director at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center (HBIC) at the
University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City, KS

 

 

Current literature indicates that there is no single measure that can provide an accurate representation of the full picture of the return on research investments.

This presentation attempts to provide instruction and examples using the Balanced Score Card (BSC), (Kaplan and Norton), as a tool for assessing the return on investment for research core facilities.

The BSC supplements traditional financial measures with criteria to measure performance in three additional areas — customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth. The presenters will also discuss and share their experiences on how they have utilized these ROI approaches to streamline their core operations and make sound investment decisions and strategies to further the mission of their institutions and to meet the expectations of their various investors and key stakeholders.

register_here_red

Questions? Contact genomewebinars@genomeweb.com

GenomeWeb and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) are partnering for the second year to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. Special thanks to the series sponsor, PerkinElmer

Ask the Experts: Ensuring High-Quality Proteomic Studies with Core Lab Resources

ABRF-TY-180x150-2017

Date: October 10, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Time

REGISTER

This online, interactive seminar will answer researchers’ most pressing questions about how to gain outstanding research results from proteomic studies. Researchers and clinicians are increasingly adopting proteomics as a go-to method for gaining biological insights and direction. Proteomic core labs are shared resources with the expertise and instrumentation to carry out these specialized studies. Collaboration between researcher and proteomic core combines the expertise and leverages the strengths of both parties. This webinar will provide building blocks on which to jumpstart or strengthen this key relationship.

From study design and sample preparation through data analysis, result interpretation, and overall reproducibility, our panelists will answer your essential questions about setting up and carrying out high-quality proteomic studies. This practical insider info will help researchers and cores to work together and effectively move research forward.

Presenters:

Emily Chen, PhD
Director of Proteomics Shared Resource
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Assistant professor of Dept. Pharmacology
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

Brett Phinney, PhD
Director, Genome Center Proteomics Facility
University of California, Davis, CA

Scott Shaffer, PhD
Director, Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility
Research Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA

David L. Tabb, PhD
Professor, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Cape Town, South Africa

REGISTER

Questions? Contact genomewebinars@genomeweb.com

GenomeWeb and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) are partnering for the second year to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. Special thanks to the series sponsor, PerkinElmer

Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017

Cool microscope technology revolutionizes biochemistry

We may soon have detailed images of life’s complex machineries in atomic resolution. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 is awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of cryo-electron microscopy, which both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules. This method has moved biochemistry into a new era. Read more about this year’s prize…

New FASEB Report: Leveraging Shared Resources to Improve Research

A new report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), “Maximizing Shared Research Resources,” identifies the challenges encountered by shared research resources providers and users, and makes recommendations for improvement.

Shared research resources – from core facilities to living collections and national laboratories – make efficient use of funds and broaden researchers’ access to advanced technologies and materials. But shared resource providers face difficulties that limit their ability to offer cutting-edge services.

FASEB surveyed shared resource users and providers and identified four key areas for improvement:

Create better business models for shared resource facilities;

  1. Enhance funding programs that support facilities;
  2. Increase national awareness of shared resources;
  3. Connect researchers with institutional resources.

Click here to view the full report including the survey instrument and analysis of findings. For more information, contact Bethany Drehman, FASEB Senior Science Policy Analyst.

Cores: Part of the solution to experimental irreproducibility

Experimental reproducibility is rooted in many things; one of them being poorly validated antibodies. Numerous scientists have highlighted this problem for quite a few years, with this weakness making it into the public arena.  The NIH has taken a step forward by requiring a plan to authenticate key biological and/or chemical resources, among which are antibodies, as part of their research grant and mentored career development applications, but it is the scientific community that needs to develop and implement solutions. Several groups have taken up the charge to facilitate a cultural shift among the many players, among them, Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) and Biocompare. Last fall, GBSI ran a workshop entitled “Antibody Validation: Standards, Policies, and Practices” where key stakeholders from academia, industry, funding entities, and journals came to share perspectives and contribute to real and feasible solutions for validating antibodies. The ABRF was proud to sponsor and represent core facilities during these productive discussions of challenges. Participants worked together to map out a path forward through working groups to create a series of antibody validation guidelines for each of the seven most commonly used techniques. This summer, Biocompare stepped up to the plate by producing a very well framed and thought-provoking documentary on the role antibodies play in reproducible scientific endeavors, in which the ABRF was honored to participate.

Core facilities are particularly well positioned to expedite the process towards a better appreciation for this particular biological reagent class as well as to support researcher through a robust validation process. The scientists in core facilities can actively participate in moving antibodies off the list of irreproducibility contributors because they are the “boots on the ground”, working daily with scientists in research labs. We would like to use this blog post to facilitate a conversation within our network of how ABRF can be part of the solutions.  Reading the GBSI workshop report or viewing the Biocompare documentary are great starting points to begin thinking about the role of core facilities in the solution.  Then come back to the blog to share your thoughts and participate in our collective discussion, one that will hopefully lead to action within ABRF.

ABRF WIN2017 Phase 2 Study: Developing Procedures to Optimize Inter-Laboratory Reproducibility of LC-MS/MS-based Proteomic Analyses

June 30, 2017

Dear Colleague:

The 2017 ABRF Workflow Interest Network (WIN) is pleased to announce initiation of Phase 2 of a study to promote inter-laboratory reproducibility of quantitative proteomic LC-MS/MS analyses. Past studies of proteomic performance metrics have focused on the retrospective evaluation of collected data.  In this study we seek to identify data processing tools, including ID-free quality metrics, to support a proactive approach.

Participating laboratories will receive 2 samples: a mixture of peptide internal standards and a HeLa cell lysate digest.  A detailed protocol on how to run these samples will be provided when the samples are shipped.  We estimate it should take no more than 24 hours to complete the analysis.  Participating laboratories will submit raw files and complete a questionnaire of self-reporting parameters according to our instructions.  Results derived from the raw data will be de-identified to maintain the anonymity of the participating laboratories. Each participant will receive a unique identification number allowing them to compare their results with those of other participating laboratories.

The timeline for the study is as follows:

  • Sample requests accepted until August 1, 2017
  • Samples ship to participants starting August 1, 2017
  • Raw data files uploaded to the online repository by October 31, 2017
  • Results and analysis presented at the ABRF 2018 conference April 22-25, 2018, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, then posted on the ABRF website.

To request a sample, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H8XVSF3 and provide your shipping information before August 1, 2017. The WIN is eager to obtain data from a variety of different laboratories and mass spectrometry platforms, and encourages all mass spectrometry laboratories with an interest in proteomics and data quality metrics to participate.  However, because sample preparation and shipping involve a significant investment of time and money, Phase 2 is limited to 40 participants. The research group asks that you only request a sample if you are confident that you will be able to provide your raw files by the end of October.  We thank you for your support of the ABRF and look forward to your participation in this study.

Sincerely,

Sincerely,

The ABRF Workflow Interest Network
Emily Chen (chair), Achim Treumann, Alex Campos, LeeAnn Higgins, Sheng Zhang, Theresa McLaughlin, and Allis Chien (EB liaison)

 

ABRF Announces June 29 Webinar: Cross-Kingdom Standards in Genomics, Epigenomics, and Metagenomics

GW-Agilent-600x100-EH-3-17

Date: June 29, 2017
Time: 2:00 pm ET
REGISTER

Christopher Mason Weill Cornell Medical College

Christopher Mason – Weill Cornell Medical College

GenomeWeb and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) are partnering for the second year to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. Special thanks to the series sponsor, PerkinElmer

The first in the series of online seminars, Cross-Kingdom Standards in Genomics, Epigenomics, and Metagenomics, will provide an overview of current standardization efforts in genomics, epigenomics, and metagenomics, with a focus on practical implementation considerations for researchers and labs. Challenges and biases in preparing, characterizing, and sequencing DNA and RNA can have significant impacts on research in genomics across all kingdoms of life, including experiments in single cells, RNA profiling, and metagenomics. Technical artifacts and contaminations can arise at each point of sample manipulation, extraction, sequencing, and analysis. Thus, the measurement and benchmarking of these potential sources of error are of paramount importance as next-generation sequencing (NGS) projects become more global and ubiquitous. Fortunately, a variety of methods, standards, and technologies have recently emerged that improve measurements in genomics and sequencing, from the initial input material to the computational pipelines that process and annotate the data.

In this webinar, Christopher Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College will review work to develop standards and their applications in genomics, including the ABRF-NGS Phase II NGS Study on DNA Sequencing; the FDA’s Sequencing Quality Control Consortium (SEQC2); metagenomics standards efforts (ABRF, ATCC, Zymo, Metaquins), and the Epigenomics QC group of the SEQC2. The webinar will also review the computational methods for detection, validation, and implementation of these genomic measures.

More information on the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2017 Webinar Series is available here.

Scheduling conflict? You can still participate! All registrants will receive a link to view an on demand recording of the event.

Questions? Contact genomewebinars@genomeweb.com

ABRF Recognizes Volunteers During National Volunteer Week and Encourages All Members to Volunteer

Dear ABRF Members:

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, and on behalf of your Executive Board and Executive Director, Susan DeCourcey, I thank every one of our members for their continued commitment to the ABRF and all the volunteer work you do to support the advancement of core and research biotechnology laboratories. Your contributions of time, expertise and enthusiasm ensure the continued success of fulfilling on the ABRF’s mission, vision and goals. The work of the ABRF would not be possible without you!

If you are not currently active in the ABRF, one great way to network with your fellow ABRF members and to further develop your career is to participate in one of the various activities undertaken by your association.  Given the breadth of things we do, you will no doubt find something that aligns well with your interests.  Please look over the partial list of topics below. However, the best way to find something fulfilling is to send me an email indicating what you would be interested in doing with your colleagues. It can be related to any of the topics listed below or something developed organically. Also, the amount of time you choose to commit is totally up to you. You can participate in a discrete project with a defined end point, join a committee with a broader impact, or drive a research study.

Do any of these broad topics excite you?  Are there others?

  • Promote career development opportunities for our members
  • Develop educational opportunities, at and outside the annual meeting
  • Join with colleagues in your discipline to tackle common hurdles by joining a Research  Group
  • Be a voice for science advocacy
  • Build relationships between ABRF and like-minded organizations
  • Bring our journal JBT to the next level
  • Make the role of cores in Scientific Rigor and Reproducibility stronger and more prominent
  • Ask and answer technology-related questions through Research Group and Interest Network studies
  • Be a technical reviewer for journals
  • Strengthen and broaden ABRF-vendor relationships
  • Broaden our membership
  • Develop administrative resources
  • Keep your peers informed and engaged through social media and our website
  • Manage annual meeting logistics

I look forward to hearing from you.

Frances Weis-Garcia, ABRF President

frances.weis-garcia@my.abrf.org