Frederick County Biotech Community

Everything Biotech in Frederick County, Maryland

Happy Holidays!

Posted by twbrann on December 22, 2011

Happy holidays to everyone! Jim Hardy has graciously allowed me to post to his blog. There are plans in the works for the next Biobeers meetup in January 2012, and there will be more information about that as it becomes available.

I would like to start a brainstorming session here about a favor-exchange network for the biotech/pharma community here in Maryland. I am thinking about a web-based forum in which training or services could be exchanged.

I came up with this idea due to my own situation. I have an MS in Applied Molecular Biology, and over a dozen years of experience in cell and molecular biology. I have accumulated a wide range of skills, but I don’t have hands-on experience in flow cytometry.  This has caused me to lose job opportunities. I would gladly exchange a few hours of work to someone in exchange for FACS training.  And then I realized that I am certainly not the only person with this sort of problem. 

 Even those of us who have been in research for years may have been frustrated by one small gap in our repertoire of skills.  Rather than pay thousands of dollars and hours of time to go to a formal class, wouldn’t we sometimes prefer to just get some training in one particular technique from a colleague, in exchange for a few hours of our own time or expertise? Or maybe you need a microarray analysis done, but you don’t have the equipment. So you locate a colleague who has the equipment, and agree to perform some other task or analysis for them.  Recent graduates without much money or resources could spend a few hours counting plaques or colonies, defrosting freezers, or decontaminating hoods in exchange for training in a particular technique. How interested would you be in a formal website that allowed these connections to be made?

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3 Responses to “Happy Holidays!”

  1. Brian Karger said

    Good idea. I know that some people get such experience by volunteering/donating time, but an exchange like this could put together complementary collaborations.

  2. Jim Hardy said

    Good idea! I know where we can get a BD FACScaliber on the cheap. The guys at AFAB Labs have one set up that could be used. I am also an advocate of the “Citizen Scientist” and the model of a group my partners and I participate in BioCurious http://biocurious.org/ is a good model to follow.

  3. Jim Hardy said

    By the way, I am also involved with BioBricks foundation, started by a friend Mac Cowell in Boston out of the iGEM competitions. Very similar in scope to BioCurious and also advocates of Citizen Scientists. http://biobricks.org/

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