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.


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


ABRF Announces Executive Board Election Results

ABRF Members turned out in record numbers to elect two new members for the Executive Board.

Rich Cole, Research Scientist V, Director, Advanced Light Microscopy & Image Analysis Core, Wadsworth Center and Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health State University of New York and Nancy C. Fisher, PhD, Director, UNC Flow Cytometry Core Facility and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were elected to serve a term of four (4) years on the Executive Board of ABRF. Their terms will commence immediately following the ABRF 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Congratulations, Rich and Nancy!

The terms of Bill Hendrickson, President, and Paula Turpen, Treasurer, will conclude after the ABRF 2017 Annual Meeting. Thank you Bill and Paula for your outstanding leadership, hard work, and dedicated service to the ABRF and its membership.

ABRF Launches Annual Biomolecular Research Laboratory Census

abrf_2016_surveySubmitted by:  Christopher Colangelo

From 1989 to 2000, ABRF conducted and published 12 surveys on job Compensation and Employment in the biotechnology core laboratory. These surveys had a major impact on helping scientists, administrators, and NIH to promote the growth of core laboratory worldwide. As a way to continue this rich tradition, the current ABRF Executive Board and I have developed and relaunched an industry-wide Annual Biomolecular Research Laboratory Census.

The goal of this census is to learn about salary and employment trends in the biomolecular research laboratory marketplace, both non- and for-profit. The confidential census data will provide respondents the ability to benchmark their biomolecular research laboratory against others, both now and in the future, as well as help ABRF strengthen professional opportunities and employment-related incentives for biotechnology resource facilities. Census results will be made available to the industry via a peer reviewed research article and on the ABRF website.

Participation in this census is voluntary and we anticipate the census will take only 5-7 minutes to complete. We aim to collect data from as many research labs as possible and 100% participation from our current ABRF membership. Respondent identities will remain strictly confidential and all information will be analyzed in aggregate.

To participate in the census, please click HERE. The initial deadline for completing the census is June 15.

ABRF Executive Board Seeks Members as Consultants for Research Group Study Proposals

Under current ABRF policy, all Research Group Study Proposals are reviewed by the Executive Board prior to implementation. Over the past ten years, ABRF has expanded to include a wider array of technologies. As a result, situations may arise where the current EB members have limited backgrounds in a specific research technology area, making a comprehensive scientific review difficult. To ensure each Research Group Study Proposal receives a well-rounded review, the Executive Board would like a pool of consultants from which to solicit opinions during the approval process. All ABRF members interested in being added to the list can do so by sending an email to with the following information:

Subject line:  RG Study Proposal Consulting List
Body of the email:
– Your name
– Organization
– Title
– General area of expertise (genomics, proteomics, light microscopy, flow, etc.)
– Specific area of expertise (NGS, MS, confocal microscopy, iCRISPR, etc.)

Thank you in advance for making yourself available on an RG Study Consultant list.

ABRF Executive Board
William Hendrickson, President
Paula Turpen, Treasurer
Frances Weis-Garcia, President-Elect
Christopher Colangelo, Treasurer-Elect
Julie Auger
Allis Chien
Andrew Chitty
Peter Lopez


ABRF Announces Executive Board Election Results

ABRF Members turned out in near record numbers to elect two new members for the Executive Board.

Julie Auger, Associate Director, Research Core Facilities Program, University of California, Davis and Andy Chitty, Director, University Shared Resources, Oregon Health and Science University were elected to serve a term of four (4) years on the Executive Board of ABRF. Their terms will commence immediately following the ABRF 2016 Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Congratulations, Julie and Andy!

The terms of Tim Hunter and Anoja Perera will conclude after the ABRF 2016 Annual Meeting. Thank you Tim and Anoja for your hard work and dedicated service to the ABRF and its membership.

ABRF announces New Executive Director

EDThe Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) has hired Susan DeCourcey to serve as Executive Director beginning November 10, 2015.  Susan is employed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) to work full-time for ABRF. FASEB is composed of 27 societies with more than 125,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.

As Executive Director, Susan will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of ABRF operations including the annual meeting Program Committee, relations with Research Groups and Committees, Chapter relations, as well as membership, educational and communications initiatives.

Susan brings a unique and diverse background to the position by having worked in non-profit as well as for-profit organizations in consulting, management, and client solutions roles. Since beginning her career in association management 27 years ago, Susan has held senior-level positions with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP); the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA); and most recently with the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). As the Vice President for Membership, IT and Operations at AAMI, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the membership strategy for growth, retention, and engagement, while also providing vision and leadership for capturing greater market share in the association’s customer base. Susan also led significant upgrades and implementations to AAMI’s information technology infrastructure, and she had direct oversight of AAMI’s internal operations and the membership, IT and operations teams.

William Hendrickson, ABRF President, commented: “We are excited about the opportunity to work with such an experienced and well-regarded non-profit executive. Susan brings the wide-ranging experience the ABRF needs at this point in our evolution to broaden and deepen our positive impact within the US and international scientific community, and to develop new membership and educational programs.”

Susan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. In addition to serving on the Ursinus College Major Gifts Committee, Susan enjoys reading, running road races, and photography. She also has a passion for travel. Having journeyed to 16 countries (some of them multiple times), Susan enjoys exploring and learning about other cultures through their history, cuisine, and music. Susan resides in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Executive Board sincerely thanks David Friedman, interim Executive Director, for stepping in at a difficult time for the ABRF. He has provided leadership and worked very hard on multiple fronts, including the annual meeting, the Membership Committee, and the complete redesign of the ABRF website.

ABRF Executive Board

Executive Board adds Two New Representatives: A Brief Interview with Allis and Peter

Allis Chen and Peter Lopez roll onto the Executive Board as our newly elected representatives after our annual meeting this month. Given their new roles in our community, we thought this blog would be a great place to help us get to know them better and even post some comments and questions for them.   Both, Peter and Allis will be attending the 2015 ABRF meeting in St. Louis this weekend.  Feel free to introduce yourself and welcome them.  Both Allis, Peter, and the rest of our Executive Board are interested in hearing more about your hopes and ideas for our association.



Allis Chien earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University — where she remains, fifteen years later.  (Some bonus trivia provided by Allis is that Stanford is the single largest employer of Stanford graduates!)

How did you come to be involved with cores?

I went through graduate school expecting to end up as a chemist in industry. Just as I was finishing up my thesis, Stanford needed someone to run a newly acquired ion trap mass spectrometer. Working with the instrument sounded like something fun to do while I searched for a “real” job. Setting up the core was merely necessary bookkeeping. Fortunately, I had a mentor and model in Al Smith and his Protein and Nucleic Acid Facility, just across campus. Al immediately introduced me to the ABRF, and the temporary job developed into a career. What I love most about my core career: 1) Helping people. 2) The variety — rather than delving deeply into one research project, I get to see such a breadth of research in so many fields. 3) Continuous growth and learning opportunities — in technology, research needs, and administration skills, as well as in unexpected areas such as lab construction, event planning, and even filming for TV. The job constantly changes along with the core’s expansion, and keeps life interesting.

What do you do when you are not working?

Life off campus is about spending time with my chemist husband and kindergartener son, who share an obsession with Legos. We’ve recently discovered geocaching as a fun (and free!) fresh air activity. As David grows up, I’m gradually scavenging time to reinstate lifelong interests and hobbies, including knitting, crocheting, reading, and supplying piano and/or vocals on our church’s worship team. Having a young child is also a great excuse to learn new skills like riding a scooter and sculpting balloon animals, and to enjoy picture books and silly songs.

What are your ideas for the future of ABRF?

In the current climate of funding fears and interdisciplinary science, cores are more relevant than ever. Increasingly, institutions are turning to cores as an efficient and cost-effective way to support research. With research projects standing on the legs of numerous technologies, it is essential to be conversant with technologies outside one’s own field. The combination of the ABRF’s administrative and many technological constituents makes it the premier place to learn and network. The ABRF serves a different — and more holistic — purpose than individual technology-based societies and meetings.

My vision of the ABRF is a thriving, “doing” society, active in what ABRF folk do best — helping. The strength and heart of the ABRF is in its members. In helping its members and cores and thereby their respective users and institutions, the ABRF will simultaneously publicize its activities, grow its membership, and maintain healthy relationships with its sponsors.


peter-lopez Peter Lopez has been involved in shared research facility leadership for most of his 38 year career in flow cytometry, managing core facilities at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (including imaging and sequencing cores) and currently at the NYU Langone Medical Center. He has been intimately involved in flow cytometric application and instrument development, the latter while at Cytomation, the company who developed the MoFlo high-speed cell sorter. He formed the Boston User Group (BUG) in 1994, is currently the President of the MetroFLow (NY/NJ) flow cytometry user group, as well as President of NERLSCD.

How did you come to be involved with cores?

I started out with core labs when my second job took me to Fox Chase Cancer Institute in 1982, working with immunologist Dr. Donald Mosier. I learned the importance of well-run cores as a facilitator of basic research, and Don gave me a lot of latitude in the lab to learn the art. During this time I started (in 1986) a then-informal gathering at the ISAC annual conference (CYTO) to discuss “core” related issues. This meeting continues  to this day as the SRL Manager’s Forum , which occurs as a well-attended event within the ISAC meeting and draws almost 300 attendees . I thank Sheenah Mische who I work with at NYULMC for pointing me in the direction of ABRF, and I’ve been a member since 2010.

What do you do when you are not working?

My wife would probably say “Too much! ”. I always have some home improvement project underway (well, maybe more than one) , but try to  fit in time to enjoy good meals home or out. I usually cook at home since I’ve cooked professionally. I also enjoy wine, and keep a small cellar. My wife and I enjoy bicycling, and well, we both like to shop. I am always in search of our next best house cocktail. I garden every year with underwhelming results. I’ve always built all of our home computers for the last 20 years. I have a 1983 convertible that I like to drive when it’s nice outside. I have been known to enjoy playing squash, downhill skiing, camping, and High-Powered Rocketry (don’t worry– it’s a legal and licensed activity), and hope to get back to active status with some of these past interests before I forget how to participate.

What are your ideas for the future of ABRF?

Towards the goal of better experimental reproducibility (and solidifying the important role of cores in scientific research), I would be interested in exploring the following questions:

  • Can ABRF propose a best practices policy where journals would require authors to indicate at time of submission if institutional core facilities were used in generating data for a manuscript (or not)?
  • Can ABRF market itself as the source for SRL-technology experts which would serve the community by providing ad hoc review of the technical aspects of a manuscript?
  • Can ABRF become involved at some level in acknowledging cores that adhere to best practices for their respective core technology?

As I have a strong commitment to the educational component of cores, I am in favor of the ABRF expanding its educational mission:

  • Can ABRF members generate ABRF-branded educational material for delivery either in a classroom setting, at meetings, or via the Web?
  • Can ABRF generate material to be used as a reference for academic HR groups to better define career tracks for core facility professionals?

I would be interested in seeing enhanced interaction between ABRF and its Chapters. The affiliates and chapters can be a great source for maintaining or increasing ABRF membership.  I would be in favor of offering an ABRF membership discount to attendees of regional chapter meetings.

The ABRF should continue to investigate membership demographics at both the regional and international meeting levels to note trends, new or underrepresented core technologies, and respond to this information with new initiatives, both at the regional and international settings.