NEW YORK, Jan. 4 — A survey of more than 1,000 protein scientists has found that large-scale proteomics is booming: more than one-third of the researchers surveyed are engaged in that type of research, while another 29 percent plan to become involved in such studies within the next year.
The survey, conducted by market research firm BioInformatics and released on Friday, shows that most of these researchers are now focused on identifying and characterizing protein/protein or peptide/protein interactions, especially those involving antibodies, membrane proteins, and signal transduction proteins. Their most commonly named future research goal: understanding protein function in the cellular environment.
BioInformatics surveyed the protein scientists through The Science Advisory Board, an online forum that collects market research from biotechnology scientists for scientific vendors. The questionnaire asked researchers to describe the techniques, applications, products, and suppliers they used, and also questioned them about their preferred databases and suppliers.
The survey, called "The Tools & Techniques of Protein Science: Catalyzing the Future of Proteomics," also asked researchers which vendors they "most closely associate with products and services for protein science and proteomics research." Amersham ranked the highest, followed closely by Bio-Rad. Invitrogen, Ciphergen, Packard Bioscience, Agilent, Pierce Chemical, Applied Biosystems, MicroMass, and Clontech were also recognized as leaders in individual product categories.
Other data from the study indicate that academic and industrial researchers have different agendas for the proteomic products they'd like to see in the future. For example, academic researchers would especially like to see current separation and detection methods improved, while industry scientists predictably put the highest priority on automation and higher throughput.
Preliminary results from the report also show how crucial bioinformatics has become to protein science: Nearly three out of four of the researchers surveyed reported using databases in their work. Nevertheless, less than a third use additional software programs to interpret and analyze data.