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New York State Medical Consortium Forms Statewide Microarray Resource Center

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Imagine a mega-core facility in which 39 research institutions participate, sharing data, equipment, volume discounts, and operating procedures. In New York state, this mega-core is in the works. The Academic Medicine Development Company, (AMDeC), a non-profit corporation whose goal is to get major research institutions to pool their resources rather than fight over research dollars, has recently formed the first-ever statewide microarray resource center.

The center, which is being set up by an advisory committee from 17 of the state’s 39 participating institutions, will not only jointly buy equipment, but plans to establish statewide core facilities.

One of these facilities will be housed at the University of Rochester, and will be headed up by Andrew Brooks, director of the microarray core facility there.

“I am going to be directing something that is going to not only [benefit] New York state, but fill in voids in the microarray field,” Brooks said.

The advisory committee has so far outlined five objectives for the center:

• It will provide microarray/gene expression services for members of the consortium who do not already have a microarray facility, and will help develop existing core facilities.

• It will develop a genetic content repository that will be used by all member institutions.

• It will outline standard operating procedures and biologically specific controls that span multiple array formats and help all participating institutions to standardize their analysis.

• It will develop a gene expression database for all microarray experiments from participating institutions.

• It will initiate a technology development program to leverage AMDeC’s purchasing power and evaluate new equipment.

The center hopes to develop a standardized platform that enables between-lab comparison of data from different experiments — something microarray researchers around the world have had on their wish lists for a long time.

On the equipment side, AMDeC has already negotiated a bulk volume discount for Affymetrix products, and is now working to schedule presentations for other technology vendors, said Williams.

— MMJ

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