Since becoming an ABRF member in 2013, I continue to be amazed at how different each experience is at the national and chapter conferences. As the marketing specialist for the Biomedical Research Core Facilities at the University of Michigan, I’m a member of the Midwest Association of Core Directors (MWACD). A few days out from #MWACD ’16, and I am still working through everything I learned in Cincinnati.
Confession: Cincinnati is my hometown, so I was even more excited than usual to being able to share one of my favorite cities with coworkers. The first item on our agenda was of course to introduce my Michiganders to one of my favorite local haunts: Skyline Chili!
After a great lunch, we arrived in the host hotel downtown and the real party started. Our gracious hosts at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital went above and beyond in every aspect of the event.
The conference kicked off with high energy as we toured the cores at Cincinnati Children’s. This is always one of my favorite parts of the annual MWACD meeting. Every year, we learn so much by having the opportunity to meet with core facilities around the Midwest who are dealing with similar issues, challenges and successes that we have here at Michigan.
I’ve been with the Biomedical Research Core Facilities at U-M for five years, and the breadth and scope of what it takes to make a core facility successful – depending on facility and institution – never ceases to amaze me.
Cincinnati is certainly no exception. Seeing firsthand how the cores at Cincinnati Children’s collaborate through their divisions, learning about their workflow processes, and seeing some of their impressive equipment generated a lot of discussion throughout the conference.
The Midwest Association of Core Directors may cover only one region of the United States, but the variety of sizes, service offerings, financial models, and solutions that work for a many different organizations and universities is invaluable to hear about.
I can’t recommend the core tours enough. The opportunity to learn about other institution’s service contracts, relationships with vendors, most-used equipment, interactions with customers, is invaluable. The openness and collaboration between members is what you’d expect from passionate professionals focused on research and knowledge. Everyone seems to enjoy hearing about one another’s experience, and more importantly, everyone wants to share and help others succeed.
I had the great fortune of touring multiple facilities at Cincinnati Children’s, including:
- Confocal Microscopy Core (a Nikon Center of Excellence),
- Flow Cytometry Core,
- DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Facility,
- NMR-Based Metabolomics Core, and
- Transgenic Animal and Genome Editing Core Facility.
Oftentimes, it can feel like core facilities are isolated and on their own at their home institutions. We aren’t like other departments or centers or units. We don’t have the same goals as administrators for faculty or student-focused groups, or corporations. ABRF and its chapter organizations serve as the best reminder that we are not alone, and the unique research and business of cores can be found across the world.