Following is a list of the top ten suggestions that experienced microarray core facility directors would give to a colleague who is setting up a microarray core facility. BioArray News compiled this advice from interviews conducted with over a dozen experts on this matter.
1. Before you set up the facility, define what kinds of arrays you want to use so you can choose your equipment accordingly.
[. Make sure your university is committed to the facility financially over the long term.
3. As a facility director, make sure you are willing to sacrifice your own research while you set up and run the facility over the next couple of years. If not, get someone else to do it.
4. Carefully evaluate and compare different microarray technology platforms before buying anything.
5. Recruit a top-notch staff of people with hands-on lab or microarray facility experience who can troubleshoot the equipment, and who have good people skills for collaborating with researchers.
6. Allow your staff to be involved in the whole process so they have ownership of the results: In other words, work as a team.
7. Set up the facility so you can have direct interactions with the clients and guide them in their experiments from design to results and analysis.
8. Appoint a single designated user from each research group and supervise the users to ensure that users have adequate guidance, the process is controlled, and the equipment is maintained.
9. Hire a statistician who knows about cluster analysis to help analyze the data.
10. Install QC measures at each step of the process, especially in verifying quality of RNA samples — but prepare for things to go wrong anyway.
Sources: Ron Kerkoven, Netherlands Cancer Institute Microarray Lab Leader; Thomas Volkert, microarray facility manager at the Whitehead Institute/Corning Center for MicroArray Technology; Andrew Brooks, director of functional genomics at the University of Rochester Medical Center; Aldo Massimi, Einstein College of Medicine microarray facility engineer; Mark Eshoo, former director of the Buck Institute for Age Research genomics core facility; Paul Van Hummelen, Research Manager VIB MicroArray Facility; Harriet Feilotter, director, Queen’s University Microarray Facility; William Shannon, co-director, Multiplexed Gene Analysis (MGA) core at Washington University’s Siteman Cancer Center; Paul Debbie, CGEP manager, Cornell’s Boyce Thompson Institute ; Craig Tomlinson, co-director, U. of Cincinnati Microarray Laboratory; Bob Thompson, co-director, U. of Michigan MHRI Microarray Lab; Lisa White, director, Baylor College of Medicine Microarray Core