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

frances.weis-garcia@my.abrf.org

 

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