2024 Research Resources Expo: Matching Researchers and Resources

Biospecimens being retrieved from a liquid nitrogen storage tank

Leaders from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Shared Resources group presented its research support services and technology at the University of Miami’s 2024 Research Resources Expo.

Nearly 260 investigators recently attended the University of Miami’s 2024 Research Resources Expo to learn about UM’s vast array of shared resources that support the university’s researchers.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Shared Resources joined core facilities across UM to educate faculty, trainees, students and staff about the shared resources, or core facilities, available to catalyze their work.

The two-day event at the Coral Gables and medical school campuses featured an internal networking session of core facility leaders, a public seminar, 58 poster sessions from 44 core facilities, breakout panel discussions and tours of core facilities, including some of the Sylvester Shared Resources.

Maria Luisa Alcaide, M.D., professor of infectious diseases/medicine and director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) clinical core
Dr. Maria Alcaide

“Core facilities play an increasingly important role in biomedical research by providing scientists access to sophisticated technology and expertise,” said Maria Alcaide, M.D., vice provost for research and scholarship at the University of Miami and director of the Infectious Diseases Research Unit at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

University Core Facilities

Core facilities are laboratories that have equipment or services that are far too expensive for any individual investigator to afford. Giving groups of investigators access to these resources can greatly enhance the scope, quality and impact of their research, according to George Grills, associate director for Shared Resources at Sylvester and chair of the UM Research Cores and Facilities Committee.

2024 Research Resources Expo organizer George Grills
Members of Sylvester’s Shared Resources group at the 2024 Research Resources Expo.

Sylvester Shared Resources offer expertise and services for onco-genomics, flow cytometry, cancer modeling, biostatistics and bioinformatics, biospecimen and behavioral and community-based research.

“Sylvester has outstanding shared resources,” Grills said.

The Sylvester Onco-Genomics Shared Resource was an early adopter of the Illumina NovaSeq X Plus gene sequencer. The platform has enabled Sylvester investigators to conduct large-scale, cancer-focused sequencing studies.

The International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry has designated the Sylvester Flow Cytometry Shared Resource as one of just five Centers of Excellence in the U.S. This shared resource has CyTOF mass cytometry and imaging mass cytometry platforms, the only instruments of their kind in Florida, to analyze gene and protein expression in cells in suspension and solid tissue sections on slides with single-cell resolution.

Helping Investigator Do Their Work

Shared resources contribute to the breadth and complexity of the university researchers’ work.

Yan Guo, Ph.D., director of Sylvester’s Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource and professor of public health sciences at the Miller School, said his core offers project-specific, advanced data analysis.

“Sometimes we’re required to map the result generated from the investigator’s lab and match the results or integrate those results with public data to make a stronger conclusion,” Dr. Guo said.

The coordination of services creates new and exciting research approaches, such as multiomics analysis, possible. Multiomics integrates data from diverse platforms, including genomics, proteomics, epigenetics and metabolomics, to better understand the complexities of disease, said Antonio Iavarone, M.D., Sylvester deputy director and professor of neurological surgery and biochemistry and molecular biology at the Miller School.

Networking with Shared Resources Leaders

For shared resource leaders, attending the in-person expo was an unprecedented chance to network with other shared resources leaders.

“If this meeting didn’t happen, I probably would not have met some of them,” Dr. Guo said.  

The expo provided an opportunity for shared resources leaders to hear from investigators across the university about their research support needs. 

2024 Research Resources Expo organizer George Grills
George Grills is chair of the UM Research Cores and Facilities Committee.

“Much of our development is driven by the needs of our customers,” Dr. Guo said.

The previous shared resources expo was in 2016, but Grills said, “Going forward, the UM Research Resources Expo will be an annual event.”

Tags: Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center