CFaD Program Helps Cores Innovate
January 30th, 2020
Core facilities frequently struggle to innovate, since effort funded through recharge activities must support delivering services and cannot be used to develop new service lines. This means that cores with very high recoveries have limited ability to develop new service lines, even when relatively small investments are needed to conduct proof of concept experiments needed to bring new services online. This problem is especially acute when these proof-of-concept experiments are needed to demonstrate capabilities for individual PI grants.
The Core Facilities Administration created the Core Facilities Development Grant Program (CFaD) to bridge this gap — and has already helped jumpstart efforts to enhance some Cores.
For example, the Center for Advanced Microscopy (CAM) and Mouse Histology and Pathology Laboratory (MHPL) used this program to develop new service lines to prepare thicker, sectioned tissue for analysis by light sheet microscopy through a process called clearing, where materials that scatter light are selectively removed. The Kalb group used this process to to compare the spatial distribution of premotor interneurons of the spinal cord between a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy SMNΔ7 and wildtype littermates as part of a recent proposal.
According to Constadina Arvanitis, CAM facility manager: “This technology is very dependent on the core-to-core workflow between the MHPL and CAM. With this development grant, in addition to investigators being introduced to the technology, CAM and the MHPL could better develop the workflow of incoming clearing projects. This core-to-core interaction has by far increased the support we give to PI labs.”
The data generated under the program has led to more than 10 single investigator grants and is increasing utilization and sustainability for Office for Research cores. Learn more about CFaD here, or contact a member of the Core Facilities team.
Core Facilities Colloquium – 10/31/19
November 1, 2019
This year’s CF Colloquium highlighted the topic of Inclusivity in Core Facilities. Sue Weintraub, Professor of Biochemistry & Structural Biology at UT Health-San Antonio, presented her experience as a long-standing Director of a Mass Spectrometry Core Facility in a keynote address. Student groups (Women in Science and Engineering Research and NU Building on Diversity) encouraged the core facilities community to consider an open minded perspective. Celina Flowers, Assistant Provost for Faculty, expanded on methods, techniques and mindsets to promote inclusive hiring. Twenty four Core Facilities were awarded Service Excellence Awards. We hope to see everyone next year!