MSU has joined a national consortium to help biomedical scientists accelerate their research by sharing resources, said Sara Young, principal investigator at MSU. Called eagle-i, the consortium so far involves MSU, Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth College, Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Hawaii Manoa, the University of Puerto Rico, Jackson State University and the Morehouse School of Medicine.
The eagle-i team received a grant amounting to almost $15 million over two years to create a huge database for biomedical scientists around the United States, Young said. The scientists will be able to search the database for resource inventories at the nine participating institutions and request access to data that will assist in their work.
Team members will start by collecting information about all the biomedical resources available at those institutions, Young said. Then they'll catalog that information and build databases, a search portal and necessary links.
At MSU, resource navigator Quinton King will visit each biomedical-related research lab to gather information about its resources. He will be assisted by Kate McInnerney, who is active locally and nationally in efforts to enhance the visibility and efficiency of research resource core facilities. She serves on the grant's informatics and evaluation committee.
Young said the information they gather may become part of the resource inventory, but participation is voluntary. King said the principal investigators will decide which resources they would like to add to the inventory. Resources and information that are still in the development stage for publication or patent will not be included in the inventory.
"Collaboration is the ultimate eagle-i goal, however, including resources in the inventory will not obligate researchers in any way," King said. "It will be the resource owner's discretion regarding any potential collaboration."
Young said scientists who do participate should find the database a valuable tool.
"Having the database will enable researchers, both on our campus and beyond, to save valuable research time and resources by collaborating with researchers who have already developed research resources such as animal models in a particular area of research that are in existence, but not widely known about," Young said.
"A researcher who wants to take the next step could collaborate with the identified research lab, gather the already developed knowledge and move forward rather than recreate the knowledge prior to taking the next step," Young continued.
The grant that set up eagle-i was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and came from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health. Young has worked at MSU for nearly 15 years, primarily with programs to increase the number of Native Americans in biomedical research fields. She has directed several programs that provide opportunities for students to participate in biomedical research at MSU and programs that promote research capacity building at Montana's seven tribal colleges.
For more information about eagle-i at MSU, contact King at (406) 994-2350.
Evelyn Boswell at (406) 994-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org