The Facility at the Cutting Edge - How (and Why) to Implement High-End Technologies in the Shared Resource Environment
University of Zurich, Switzerland
Centralized provision of research infrastructure in the form of capital equipment and/or scientific expertise has been around in one form or another since the invention of flow cytometry. Initially necessitated by the novelty of the instrumentation, it is recognized today as a high-quality and cost effective solution bridging research scientists and technological resources required to drive novel discoveries. The format of such a shared facility will be dictated by the requirements and provisions of the hosting institution but two general concepts can be recognized. Service-focused establishments that house capital equipment are dubbed "core facilities" or simply "cores" while a more comprehensive facilities boasting both technical and scientific expertise are dubbed "Shared Resource Laboratories" (SRLs) .
The technological and methodological sophistication required to advance the biomedical research today takes skill, time and effort to master. With doctoral and postdoctoral positions being limited in duration, institutions are challenged with maintaing the expertise and utilizing it in a time- and cost effective manner. In author’s opinion, this is where Shared Resource Laboratries make their largest contribution. Building on the same premise, SRLs are perfectly positioned to be among the first ones to implement and disseminate novel technologies. And yet, such an effort is not without the challenge.
Here we share founding ideas, performance metrics and experiences gathered at the Mass Cytometry SRL at the University of Zurich. Structured as one-stop-shop for mass cytometry projects, we were among the first SRLs in Europe to provide comprehensive support conducting research with a novel high-dimensional single cell methodology. By providing first-hand experiences and solutions to budgetary, scientific and technological challenges, we hope to promote information exchange and provide references facilitating similar operations elswhere.
 Moore J, Roederer M. The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource Laboratory: Best practices to assure a high-quality, cost-effective partnership with biomedical research laboratories. Cytometry. 2009 Aug 1;75A(8):643–9.
After participating in this tutorial, the student will have an extended appreciation of how SRLs can be effective partners in furthering their own research. Also, SRLs will be presented as desirable and competitive career paths at the forefront of the discovery, demonstrated by numerous real-life examples.