We have had a very busy month and have been moving very quickly to reinvigorate the BioMicro Center. Last week, we welcomed Allison Perrotta who has joined us as a technical associate. Allison is a graduate of UNH and has spent the past year working for EPIX pharmaceuticals. She will be working with Manlin on handling Affymetrix microarrays and Illumina sequencing samples. Please feel free to say hi the next time you come by the center.
This month, I would like to highlight three areas BioMicro is currently focusing on where I would be very interested in receiving feedback from our users. The first is our effort to speed up the turnaround time for Affymetrix arrays. In addition to adding more hands, we have the opportunity to double our number of active fluidics stations for free by pre-ordering a (large) number of GeneChips. The concern with placing such a large order is that some of the arrays will not be used. In order to minimize this risk, it would be very helpful if anyone who is planning on using Affymetrix arrays in the next 4-6 months could send me an email with an estimate of the number and types of arrays you are thinking of using. We will then use these estimates in planning our pre-order.
Second, in addition to improving our Affymetrix turn around time, we are also re-activating our high throughput liquid handling robot (a Tecan Evo 150). Because we have not used this robot in several years, we will be scheduling a training session in the next few weeks once we get the robot back under a service agreement. Once the machine is operational, we will make it available to anyone who has been trained to use it and will be posting signups for it on our website. If you are interested in learning more about the current functionalities of the Tecan or would be interested in coming to the training session, please send me an email.
Finally, several labs have approached us regarding computational resources, specifically about data storage. We are currently examining several different options that would allow us to provide data storage on an “as needed” basis to our users. One idea we are investigating is to provide server space on BioMicro managed machines at a fairly low cost (~$400 - $600 per year per terabyte). This fee would include all administrative costs as well as daily TSM backups (normally $65/month), and would allow our users to purchase only the amount of memory they need. However, because of the vast array of different storage devices on the market, it would be very helpful if we knew how many labs would be interested in this type of a service. So, again, if you would consider this type of a service, or have any questions, please send me an email.
Thank you all in advance for your feedback. I really do appreciate your help in improving the work we do in the BioMicro Center. We do have many other projects going on right now including a complete revamp of our website and a renovation of the BioMicro Center lab space that I hope to be able to tell you more about soon. Once again, my door is always open and I hope to be chatting with you.