There are many resources you come to take for granted as an academic researcher. Insulated from the private sector and competitive market demands, you often have access to hosts of shared resources and core facilities. Academic core facilities host such services at cost-effective rates, including sequence analysis, primer design, and peptide synthesis, proving to be immensely helpful to graduate research.
And yet, after transitioning from graduate research at Yale to postdoctoral studies at a private institution, I’ve come to truly appreciate the value such resources provide. Working in a private institution, you’re divorced from the insular academic environment of shared resources. One may try to access an academic core facility, but will find it difficult to search for the right point-of-contact, given core operations are predicated on academic networks.
Case in point, I’ve often needed to identify a few novel but promising candidates through mass spectrometric analysis, but wasn’t able to find the right expertise either in-house or through outside vendors. Fortunately for me, using Science Exchange helped me find cost-effective providers at core facilities, and increase the efficiency of my research.
Within a day or two of posting my project on Science Exchange, I got multiple bids from core facilities with the relevant expertise. I was able to compare pricing for mass spectrometry services, which ranged from ~$200 to $800 dollars, from vendor to vendor. I was able to choose the service provider based on my lab’s needs and within our budget, and communicate effectively through the site’s messaging service. Afterwards I was able to FedEx the samples, and by the end of the week I had received the results in an easy-to-read format with accompanying analysis. It couldn’t have been easier.
Similarly, a friend of mine needed urgent authentication of several cell lines for a manuscript submitted to a high-impact journal. She posted her project on Science Exchange, and soon found a core facility provider able to prioritize the experiment for her within 2 business days. More impressively, she found a service provider who was willing to follow up with her, step-by-step, over the analysis of the results. The cost of service itself was ~ 80% lower than where she had originally obtained the cell lines from. It seemed like our team had found the most precious vendor yet.
These two examples illustrated to me that small research institutions can benefit immensely from Science Exchange. Private organizations can now gain improved access to the same privileged services of academic core facilities. In some respect, it levels the playing field for smaller, vibrant research institutions, helping them better compete on budget while contributing to important scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs.
[about_box image=”http://thebenchapp.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Roshan.jpeg”]Roshan Karki is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Danbury Hospital (part of the Western Connecticut Health Network). His research is focused on developing biomarkers for gynecological cancers. He is also a member of the Science Advocate program and believes Science Exchange has the potential to impact scientific research and facilitate medical and drug discoveries. Previously, Roshan completed a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology at Yale University. [/about_box]