Take FASEB’s Shared Research Resources Survey and share your perspective as a user or provider!

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) wants to learn about your experiences with shared research resources. Please complete this survey by March 2, 2017.

The questions in this 10-15 minutes survey focus on the following topics: (1) resource utilization and unmet needs; (2) the role of facilities in providing access to resources; (3) sources of funding and support for resources; (4) careers in resource provision and development as well as training on best practices. Your feedback will help inform FASEB’s policy positions and recommendations.

Please share this survey link widely with other biological researchers! FASEB is collecting responses from resource users and providers in the US. Survey link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3244931/FASEB-s-Shared-Research-Resources-Survey

ABRF Announces November 1 Webinar: CRISPR/Cas9 Editing in Human Cell Lines and Animal Models

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This webinar will outline new strategies for genome editing in mammalian cells using CRISPR/Cas9, with talks focused on point mutation repair in human cell lines and the design of knock-in animal models.

Dr. Eric Kmiec Director, Gene Editing Institute, Christiana Care Health System’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Institute & Research Center

 Dr. CB Gurumurthy Director, Transgenic Core Facility, University of Nebraska Medical Center

During this webcast, Dr. Eric Kmiec will discuss a new approach to the correction of point mutations using single-stranded oligonucleotides and a partially synthetic form of CRISPR/ Cas9, a ribonucleotideprotein (RNP) complex. The experimental design, including the process of RNP assembly and the workflow, will be presented.

Dr. Kmiec will share details of a case study in which a point mutation in an integrated copy of the mutated eGFP gene in a human cell line is corrected using this approach, and a reaction pathway that is likely distinct from that of homology-directed repair. The use of short single-stranded oligonucleotides may be a strategy of choice when the desired endpoint is correction of point mutations in chromosomal genes.

Our second speaker, Dr. CB Gurumurthy, will discuss the latest trends and CRISPR tools available for animal genome editing, with a particular emphasis on strategies for increasing the homology-directed repair mechanism to enable insertion of longer sequences at the Cas9 cut sites. A few examples of designing knock-in animal models and the workflow of generating the models will be presented.

This webinar is the second on gene editing under the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series. The first webinar in the series is available on demand here.

Meet FASEB’s New President, Hudson Freeze

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Hudson H. Freeze, PhD

On July 1, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) welcomed its new President, Hudson H. Freeze, PhD. Dr. Freeze is Professor of Glycobiology and Director of the Human Genetics Program at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla.

“I am honored to lead FASEB—the policy and advocacy voice of 125,000 scientists. Today, we have extraordinary opportunities to communicate with the most receptive Congress in 15 years. Our message has connected, we’ve turned a corner, but now it’s our responsibility to speak out even more strongly. We must advocate for research because we know it benefits all citizens in all districts,” Dr. Freeze said.

For the last 20 years, Freeze’s research has focused on the identification and understanding of Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDGs), genetic errors in the way sugars attach to proteins and lipids. He contributed to the discovery of 18 of the more than 110 known CDGs. Dr. Freeze collaborates closely with physicians, families, and their support organizations and regularly consults on cases while still tracking the genetic basis of multiple patients with unknown glycosylation defects.

Beginning with his postdoctoral work, Freeze has earned nearly 40 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As FASEB President, he will lead initiatives to advocate for increased funding for NIH and other federal agencies that fund scientific research.

“The most important thing is to get it [funding] for NIH, which is the crown jewel of federal agencies,” Dr. Freeze told San Diego’s KUSI. “We hear a lot of talk about ‘Let’s make America great again,’ but, in fact, in medical research, we are great. What we have to do is sustain that,” said Freeze.

Among his priorities during his year as FASEB president is increasing communication with FASEB member societies. “One thing is fundamental: FASEB represents scientists. From postdocs to Society leaders, I want us to have an open dialog—scientist to scientist—about how FASEB can better serve its members and the scientific community,” Freeze said.

Prior to his election as President, Dr. Freeze served as FASEB’s Vice President for Science Policy. He is a Past President of the Society for Glycobiology and its first representative to the FASEB Board of Directors. Dr. Freeze is also a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and The American Society for Human Genetics.

In 2013, Dr. Freeze shared the Golden Goose Award  with microbiologist Thomas Brock, PhD, for identifying Thermus aquaticus (Taq), an “extremophile” bacteria capable of thriving in extreme heat. Freeze was an undergraduate research assistant in 1966 when he and Brock found Taq in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. By identifying an organism with DNA machinery that could survive near-boiling temperatures, their discovery opened the door to the development of polymerase chain reaction and other technologies that would revolutionize biomedical research.

This introduction to science led Dr. Freeze to advocate tirelessly on behalf of basic research. “New cures for devastating diseases and exciting advances in medicine are all rooted in federally funded basic research,” Dr. Freeze wrote in a San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed after his Golden Goose win. “Today’s benefits came from yesterday’s investment. Tomorrow’s cures depend on today’s decisions.”

To help ensure that message gets national attention, he urges scientists to engage with public audiences as often as possible. To that end, Freeze worked with ASBMB to organize an exhibition of BioArt winning images in a brewery during the Experimental Biology meeting.

As President of FASEB, Freeze aims to ensure that policymakers hear the views of researchers and that researchers recognize those legislators who are champions for science. “Congressional leaders assured us that the $2billion increase for NIH funding in 2016 will not be a one hit wonder,” said Freeze. “Let’s help keep that pledge on track with continuing advocacy for greater investment in research. Go make a difference; we can make a difference,” he said.

FASEB is made up of 30 scientific member societies, representing over 125,000 researchers from around the world. ABRF is a member society of FASEB, and ABRF’s members receive the full benefits of FASEB membership.

ABRF Announces Next Webinar: The Emergence of Gene Editing

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This online seminar, part of the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series, will cover the history of gene editing methods like TALENs and CRISPR/Cas and provide an overview of various gene editing technologies.

Please join Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., of Christiana Care Health System’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute and Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy of the University of Nebraska Medical Center July 19 at 1:00 pm EDT US for their discussion on some of the origins of gene editing and how the field emerged from a series of basic science observations to the dynamic fast-paced field dominating research journals today.

Kmiec and Gurumurthy will also discuss some of the factors that can influence the frequency and efficacy with which gene editing takes place, including cell cycle progression, and the introduction of specific double-strand breaks at specified sites relative to the target.

The second part of the webinar will focus on latest developments in genome editing technologies: specifically, different genome editing technologies will be compared with a special emphasis on the CRISPR/Cas system.

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

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 Announces Next Webinar: Experimental and Computational Standards in Metagenomics

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This online seminar, part of the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series, will provide an overview of experimental and computational standards for metagenomics that have been developed as part of the Genomes in a Bottle standards consortium.

Please join Christopher Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College and Scott Tighe of the University of Vermont on June 7 at 1:00 pm EDT US for an overview of metagenomics standards that leverage a titrated mixture of known bacteria and eukaryotes. These have been sequenced across multiple next-generation sequencing platforms and characterized with ten different algorithms for taxonomic classification. The consortium members have also aggregated a set of 30 control samples for additional classification.

Dr. Mason and Dr. Tighe will report on a number of findings from the project, including the fact that sites of cross-algorithm agreement can lead to the most accurate estimate of the number of species from a new sample. They will also present an online resource for these tools, methods, and data sets; all of which are freely available. These methods and standards can help the many large-scale metagenomics projects around the world (and even some in space).

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

Still Time to Register! Three Lean Management Tools For The Life Science Lab

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Session: Three Lean Management Tools for the Life Science Lab

Date: May 17, 2016

Time: 1:00 pm EDT USA

Please don’t delay! Register today!

This online seminar will provide a practical approach to implementing lean management tools in the life science laboratory.

Unlike some management trends and tools, the scientific method is deeply engrained in lean management, making it an effective strategy for lab workflows.  In this webinar, Robert Carnahan, associate professor of cancer biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, outlines three simple lean techniques that his team has implemented for project management, inventory and ordering, and equipment maintenance.  Attendees of this webinar will learn about specific tools to begin implementation in their own working environment.

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

About the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series: GenomeWeb has partnered with the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. More information about ABRF and its activities is available here. Please check GenomeWeb’s webinar schedule for future webinars in this series. The series is sponsored by New England BioLabs.

Questions? Contact genomewebinars@genomeweb.com

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 abrf@abrf.org 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.

Sincerely,
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 Partners with GenomeWeb to Host 2016 Webinar Series

GW_ABRF_NEB_logoABRF and GenomeWeb are partnering on a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research.

The GenomeWeb/ABRF Webinar Series will feature eight webinar series held over the span of the next 12 months on the topics of: Genome Editing, Metagenomics, Proteomics, Core Lab/Admin Management, Imaging, and Single Cell Genomics. Content for each of the webinars is both based on and will expand on topics originating at the ABRF 2016 Annual Meeting, which was held in February in Ft. Lauderdale.

According to ABRF President, William Hendrickson, “The decision to partner with GenomeWeb provides ABRF with a unique opportunity to increase awareness of our activities and initiatives, while also providing GenomeWeb access to expanded educational and scientific content for GenomeWeb’s readership.”

The inaugural seminar, Three Lean Management Tools for the Life Science Lab, is scheduled for May 17 at 1:00 pm US Eastern Daylight Time.

This online seminar will provide a practical approach to implementing lean management tools in the life science laboratory. Unlike some management trends and tools, the scientific method is deeply engrained in lean management, making it an effective strategy for lab workflows. In this webinar, Robert Carnahan, associate professor of cancer biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, outlines three simple lean techniques that his team has implemented for project management, inventory and ordering, and equipment maintenance.  Attendees of this webinar will learn about specific tools to begin implementation in their own working environment.

ABRF thanks New England BioLabs for sponsoring the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 webinar series!

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.

 

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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.