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Dartmouth Part of New National Consortium to Facilitate Scientific Research Resource Discovery

The Harvard-Led Project is Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

November 6, 2009

Jason Moore, PhD

Jason Moore, PhD

Dartmouth researcher Jason Moore, PhD, is part of a new multi-institution research team called the eagle-i consortium. The group will create a enormous database that enables biomedical scientists from anywhere in the US to search resource inventories at all participating sites and request access to data that will assist in their work. The effort is funded by a $15 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the National Center for Research Resources (part of the National Institutes of Health), and it is led by Lee Nadler at Harvard Medical School.

Moore, Director of the Bioinformatics Shared Resource at the Cancer Center, the Frank Lane Research Scholar in Computational Genetics and a professor of genetics and of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, will be responsible for Dartmouth's contribution to the national infrastructure that shares these research resources across the country.

"This database will serve as a model for how research resources from all research institutions in the United States will be shared," said Moore. "I am particularly excited about the potential for new interdisciplinary collaborations to emerge among investigators at Dartmouth as they become aware of the research resources their colleagues down the hall have."

At Dartmouth, Moore will work with Steven Fiering, PhD, an associate professor of genetics and of microbiology and immunology on this project. They will start by compiling a detailed inventory of equipment in core facilities at Dartmouth that can be shared by other researchers at Dartmouth and elsewhere, such as equipment used in gene sequencing and protein sequencing, mass spectrometry equipment used to measure the molecular weights of biologically derived samples, and a variety of equipment used in cancer research. See Molecular Biology and Proteomics Core Facility and Norris Cotton Cancer Center Shared Resources for examples of the equipment available at Dartmouth.

"This database will serve as a model for how research resources from all research institutions in the United States will be shared."

The nine-member consortium represents institutions of diverse size, population, and environment, and the network will be designed to include more institutions over time. The eagle-i network will make it easier for scientists across the country to search for existing scientific research resources critical to advancing clinical and translational research. Currently, such resources, when they exist, are largely invisible to scientists outside the laboratories or institutions where they were developed. As a result, investigators across the country often expend significant time and effort seeking out unique resources necessary for their research, sometimes even unwittingly re-creating resources that already exist elsewhere. Also, institutions may duplicate core facilities because they are unaware that the same facility exists at other nearby institutions or within their own walls.

Revealing these resources nationally will thus facilitate clinical and translational research nationally and accelerate the development of much needed diagnostics, treatments, and prevention strategies by removing barriers to resource discovery and reducing time-consuming and expensive duplication of effort.

The eagle-i consortium will collect information about the all the resources-initially, animal models, reagents, tissue banks, core laboratories, human health study protocols, and student research opportunities-available at each of the nine participating institutions:

  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Jackson State University
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Montana State University
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Hawaii Manoa
  • University of Puerto Rico

Researchers will work together to catalog the data in a consistent and easily searchable way, and informatics specialists will construct the resource databases and the search portal, and build the necessary links to facilitate functionality.

"Although there are a number of challenges that will need to be addressed in developing a national resource," said Moore, "we have already made excellent progress in a very short time. This can be directly attributed to the diversity of expertise and the diversity of academic backgrounds of the funded participants."