One stop research shopping

Ever spent days combing the internet for that one reagent or cell line that could take your research to the next level --- to no avail?

By | November 3, 2009

Ever spent days combing the internet for that one reagent or cell line that could take your research to the next level --- to no avail? A new linkurl:effort,; funded by a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources, aims to fix that by centralizing catalogs of reagents, cell and tissue banks, and model organism lines so that researchers can spend less time scouring the internet for these tools, or worse, re-developing existing tools, and more time conducting and evaluating research. The project, called the eagle-i Consortium, is a collaboration between researchers from Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth University, Jackson State University in Mississippi, the Morehouse School of Medicine, Montana State University, Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Alaska, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Puerto Rico. Initially, the consortium will seek to connect researchers to resources -- including animal models, equipment, cell and tissue banks, training opportunities, and antibodies -- that were developed at the nine schools. Ultimately, though, the aim is to create a national research resource discovery network. "We're starting with nine, but we're hoping that over time it will expand to hundreds," Thomas Ulrich, spokesperson for Harvard's Clinical and Translational Science Center, told __The Scientist__. Ulrich added that the eagle-i catalog will contain contact information that will help researchers access the tools they find. "This project is about linking scientists nationally to resources, technologies, and opportunities, and about making invisible resources visible to the researchers who need them," Lee Nadler, leader of Harvard's eagle-i Consortium site, said in a linkurl:statement; from the medical school. "Historically little has been done to systematically inventory and advertise research resources beyond the labs or institutions where they were developed, and so investigators are often left to expend significant time and effort seeking out unique resources, sometimes even unwittingly re-creating resources that already exist elsewhere." The consortium will erect an internet-based portal that researchers can use to search for resources available at each of the nine participating institutions. According to Ulrich, an informational website will be online by early December, with catalogs compiled and added over the course of the next two years. "By building the eagle-i network this way, each participant can maintain complete local control of the information made available," Douglas MacFadden, a Harvard-based development leader in the consortium, said in a statement. "Also, this will make it relatively easy for other institutions to develop their own resource inventories and upload that data into the network in the future." Two years from now, the consortium plans to turn the network over to the National Center for Research Resources, which will encourage wider participation and expand the network's scope to more research institutions. __Editor's Note (11/03/09): The original version of this story indicated that the eagle-i web portal would be online by early December. In fact, only an informational website will be launched this year with the fully-functioning portal expected in two years' time. __The Scientist__ regrets the error.__
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Posts: 7

November 3, 2009

There is already a good database for those reagents that are commercially available--Biocompare. When I need to find a reagent, I search Biocompare first. The database described in this article would be useful in locating cell lines, plasmids, etc. that are not commercially available, but another database for locating commercially available products is, in my opinion, not useful nor necessary.

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