As Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast of the US, floodwaters from the nearby East River poured into the basements of New York University Medical Center forcing an evacuation of patients and personnel, but also damaging years of research, reports the New York Daily News. In addition to housing backup power, the NYU basement also held a number of animal models and reagents.
Gordon Fishell, an NYU neurobiologist, lost 40 strains of mice, totaling about 2500 individuals, the Nature News Blog adds. While NYU appears to be bearing the brunt of the losses, other research institutes in the region may also have damaged experiments or a loss of data.
Fishell, though, may be able to rebuild his work. He tells the Nature News Blog that he's received offers of help from researchers at nearby Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Weill Cornell Medical College to re-establish his mouse colony — which is only possible because Fishell has shared his mouse strains and reagents with his colleagues. "I don't think there is a single allele that we had produced or transferred that is not in someone else's hands," he tells Nature. "If there's a lesson in this, it's why sharing in the community is so valuable."