Addgene Recognizes Leaders in Resource Sharing
Sep 07, 2010 – Addgene, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that helps scientists share recombinant DNA tools known as plasmids, recently announced the winners of its first set of Innovation Awards. Addgene’s Resource Sharing Award focused on recognizing laboratories that share the organization’s goals and have helped modernize the way the scientific community shares information and resources. Four academic laboratories, three of which are from Massachusetts, received a total of $20,000 to help support their research and collaborative efforts.
The Addgene Innovation Awards (http://www.addgene.org/awards) program was established to fund innovative ideas and projects in the life sciences. The Resource Sharing Award is the first of three awards in the program to be distributed in 2010. “A key part of Addgene’s mission is to promote sharing of resources in the academic community, and we are delighted to recognize labs that exemplify this philosophy”, said Executive Director Melina Fan.
All the award winners share the sentiment that research should be collaborative and open-access. "Government funding often comes from everyday people and therefore one of our duties (as scientists) is to be as open and sharing of our science as possible", said Dr. Eric Campeau of University of Massachusetts Worcester, one of the award recipients. Dr. Campeau has been consistently generating new viral-based tools for Molecular Biologists, which he regularly posts on his website before publication and shares with the community.
Dr. Thomas Gilmore, currently the Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at Boston University, and one of the award winners, is dedicated to promoting a community atmosphere in the life sciences, “It's important for scientists to realize that there are ways to contribute to science beyond direct research. There is a community aspect to our work, most of which is funded by the federal government." Dr. Gilmore developed and currently maintains a website dedicated to the protein family NF-kB, a valuable tool for all in his field of cell signaling. Part of the funds obtained by the Gilmore Lab will be dedicated to upgrading the site.
Another in-state award recipient, Dr. Keith Joung of Massachusetts General Hospital, is the current leader and cofounder of the Zinc Finger Consortium. The Joung Lab has made its resources available to the academic community, including protocols, reagents, and software.
The final award winner, Dr. Steve Koch, from the University of New Mexico is a strong advocate for open-science. His lab is a leader when it comes to using web-based tools for making his science accessible. The Koch lab uses Open Notebook Science to keep track of their experiments and the lab keeps their data open in the public domain. The lab also does a large amount of outreach using social media, including the use of YouTube, Twitter, and the blogosphere. Dr. Koch's graduate student, Andy Maloney, enjoys being a member of a laboratory that has taken part in the grass roots campaign to create an open access forum for doing science. Andy says, "Communication is key in science. With open notebooks, I'm completely up to speed with everything everyone is doing in the lab. This really helps science progress."
Addgene is proud to be contributing to laboratories that have gone above and beyond in terms of reaching out to the scientific community. Currently, the Innovation Awards program is accepting applications for its Recombinant DNA Technology Award, which is due September 15th. This award will recognize labs that are using creative approaches to build novel DNA tools. For more details about the award, or for information about the program, feel free to check out the awards website (http://www.addgene.org/awards), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 617-225-9000.
Founded in 2004 as a hub for scientific sharing and to promote biological and medical discoveries, Addgene has ties to many local Universities including MIT, Tufts, and Harvard. Addgene stores, archives, and distributes plasmids, the gold currency for recombinant DNA. Plasmids are used by researchers worldwide to study how genes function. Distributing high-quality plasmids to the global scientific community in a matter of days, Addgene provides a valuable service to life science research.
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