Transcript of "Biomarkers in Health Equity Research"
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Well, hi everybody, thanks so much for joining us for the second presentation of our 2021 Health Equity Webinar Series. My name's Sue Higgins and I'm representing the three NIH health research centers hosting this webinar from Montana State University in Bozeman. These are the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity, Montana INBRE, and the AI/AN Clinical and Translational Research Program. I’d first like to acknowledge and honor with great respect the Indigenous stewards on whose traditional territories MSU now stands and whose historical relationship with the land continues to this day. MSU is located in the common hunting ground and major crossroads for Plains and Plateau Native nations including Shoshone, Nez Perce, Dakota Salish, Crow and Blackfeet. I’m really delighted to welcome Dr. Selena Ahmed and Dr. Steve Martin, who will offer a presentation today on the use of biomarkers in health equity research and the services of the Translational Biomarkers Core Lab at MSU. A lot of you out there have been asking for lots more information, and things are up and running now, and I'm really excited that they could both be here during these pretty busy times Selena Ahmed is an associate professor of sustainable food systems at MSU and director of the translational biomarkers core her research focuses on identifying the socioecological determinants of well-being in the food system with a focus on wild and cultivated food environments in rural and indigenous communities the ultimate goal of Salina’s research program is to transform food systems through evidence-based innovations that support um planetary health she re she receives her training from Columbia University, University of Kent, City University of New York and Tufts. Dr. Steve Martin's research seeks to understand the mechanistic under mechanistic underpinnings of the biology of aging and determining the biological basis of increased disease vulnerability as a function of aging the central question is to study how caloric restriction and exercise slow the aging process Dr. Martin is also the director of the MSU translational biomarkers lab at MSU and received his training at the University of Illinois the university of Wisconsin-Madison and Oregon State University a few really quick notes before we begin you please ask any questions you have you're all muted but please ask any questions you have in the q a function at the bottom of your screen um we'll be watching them and we can we can field those during the presentation and we'll also definitely um do that at the close um and we're also recording this so if you have colleagues who've missed this or if you want to re-listen to this we'll be posting this on our websites and you can go back there and check it out so thanks for being with us and at this time I’ll ask Dr. Ahmed to please begin thank you so much for the introduction and thank you all for joining us we are excited um to share with you about the work we're doing and the services we offer through the translational biomarkers core lab I’m passing on to you Steve yeah thank you for hosting us sue and for joining us everybody we hope you're all safe and healthy um I’m still trying to figure out slide advancing here all right so a brief outline of what we're going to chat about today we will discuss with you what is a biomarker we'll tell you about how the TBCL came about and the mission of the TBCL which i should state is the translational biomarkers core laboratory which is part of the center for American Indian rural health equity at MSU so the origin and the mission of the TBCL then we're going to walk you through kind of the process of what it would look like if a new client came to us wanting to do biomarker research so we'll do a mock um kind of a case study of that and then we're going to go through the different categories of biomarkers just so all of you can get an idea of how biomarkers can be used in different ways and then we will briefly discuss at the end some of the instrumentation and methodology that we have in our laboratory and services available and then we'll briefly hit on the fee structure of our laboratory i do want to point out that this webinar and discussion is geared towards more community health and health equity researchers but it's also applicable to more basic science as biomarkers can cross scientific disciplines and applications but we are focusing on more the community health equity researchers here all right so let's start off what is a biomarker a biomarker is defined as a defined characteristic that is measured as an indicator of a normal biological process a disease process or pathogenic process or response to an exposure or intervention so in this case an exposure could be a drug a medical drug a toxin food a meal an intervention could be you know a meditation intervention or an exercise intervention so the category or the broad definition of a biomarker it's broad they can be measured at many levels the molecular histological radiographic or physiological levels of the organism and when you look at all the different levels they're combined greater than 100 000 potential biomarkers and in terms of how we can use them for community and health equity research they can really improve the quality of the instruments we typically use such as surveys and questionnaires which are objective measures whereas biomarkers are excuse me subjective measures biomarkers are objective measures that can support what is going on at a deeper level than some of the subjective measures or physical biomarkers such as bmi body weight things like that and i want to point out the approach that our lab the tvcl takes is what's called a targeted approach to biomarker analysis and what this means is that we work with our clients to identify we go through the literature we look at other studies to identify strong candidate biomarkers whether it's one two three four five that relate to your specific study and this is a targeted approach where an untargeted approach would be we measure a whole bunch of things and then we work back to relate it to your outcomes and that's kind of what you would see with a more mass spectrometry based approach lipidomics metabolomics and we're happy to point you in that direction but we take a targeted approach where we pick the strongest candidates and measure those you're absolute excellent um and so i wanted to talk a little bit about the origin of the translational biomarkers core we started the biomarkers core about two years ago and the goal was really to take health equity research here at montana state university and more regionally to the next level and so a lot of health equity and public health research um is conducted by social scientists in collaboration with communities and often the data that's collected it's extremely rich and very community based and oftentimes it's based on self-reported measures and in order to sort of push that research to the next level to be to add a component of more objective measures more robust measures as well as more interdisciplinary measures we really thought that there was a need to provide researchers public health researchers and health equity researchers with sort of a space and services where they can complement their community-based work with these uh validated biomarker assessments as a supplement to their observational and intervention studies and so for example i've been carrying out food systems research looking at the effectiveness of food and nutrition interventions with communities and most of the measures that we are looking at are self-reported surveys and those of you who have done self-reported surveys know that there are a lot of biases um in the self-reported services self-reported surveys so for example even if I’m taking a 24-hour food recall looking at what i've eaten in the past 24 hours um a i may have forgotten everything that i've eaten and b i may not want to report everything that i've eaten um there might be some stigma attached to it or it may show that i've sort of gone against an intervention and so while that data for the 24-hour food recall is really rich um we also wanted to say okay well what else is happening in response to these food and nutrition interventions on that sort of eliminate that self-reported bias that happens in such data collection and so we really started the translational biomarkers core to help bring such community-based research to the next level um in in order to provide more robust data more interdisciplinary data and so our goal really for the core is to provide this facility where public health and health equity researchers can measure biomarkers um and not only is it a facility where they can measure biomarkers but also have sort of the analytical expertise of choosing the biomarker actually carrying out the analysis and then looking at how to interpret the data that comes out and so these are some of the sort of goals we had in creating the translational biomarkers core as part of the center for American Indian and rural health equity and we're really excited to provide the service for the MSU research community next step one thing i want to point out is um we're funded by the nih for about the next 10 years but then in those 10 years we need to transition to a self-sustainable model and that is where we need to start building our clientele many of you we hope out there to use our services so we're going to start we hope broadcasting advertising casting a wide net to increase our clientele and usage all right it's useful excellent and i also wanted to um sort of add the element of the sustainability aspect of the core lab facility itself and so a lot of times throughout my training i've worked in individual investigator labs and i've also carried out analysis in core laboratory facilities and sort of looking at the sustainability of core labs they allow for sustainability in multiple ways because they allow resources to be pooled and so not every investigator has to set up their own lab or have expertise in a specific set of analysis and so in terms of the sustainability i I’m really proud that the that the translation biomarkers core is able to sort of think in a very innovative way uh in terms of the sustainability of a lab and so we are providing state-of-the-art services to assess a wide range of biomarkers which we will talk about shortly related to public health and health equity research so mostly related to environmental exposure chronic disease as well as lifestyle factors and specifically we're going to go through the services we offer and then it'll become more evident as we do our case study how these different services can potentially be implemented um but we have a basically a consulting service where investigators meet with us to determine the suitable methodology for evaluating biomarkers whether it's related to a diet study they're doing or lifestyle disease what have you so we consult with them and then if they want we can actually run the assays and experiments in our lab to quantify the specific biomarkers that we all came up with as a team another approach is once coveted 19 we hope is calmed down we'd like to allow researchers and their students into our lab to be trained in the individual experiments and assays and instruments and then they can come in and use our equipment for a fee to run their own experiments but that's not an option right now just because of social distancing and everything else and then we're also part of the consulting and all that is sample collection and management and i want to emphasize how important this is especially in human studies so optimizing protocols for collecting your samples processing them and storage is really one of the most important things to improve the quality of your data and reduce variability and what i mean by that is you know collecting samples from people at the same time of the day trying to prevent people from eating a big meal before samples are collected stuff like that can really make a huge difference in your data so that's another thing that we can discuss with our clients is how to optimize sample collection so their data is ideal and then if clients have an idea for measuring a certain analyte or molecule that there aren't validated essays out there we're happy to work with them to the best of our ability to develop new assays that we would potentially validate and use for their studies and other studies so kind of more of an r d side of things go ahead celine excellent so now we're going to shift into sort of a scenario where I’m going to be a client that's approaching Steve to provide some biomarker expertise and advice and so for the past six or seven years i have been collaborating along with Dr. carmen biker shanks with the flathead community on a sustainable diets intervention which is an embry-funded project led by pei virgil dupree and co-pi wendy westbrook at skc and we've been working with the community to try to improve the sustainability and quality of diets making sure that we are also working to increase food sovereignty of the community and so we've been doing this by sort of building links with local farmers and providing local fruits and vegetables to participants of food assistance programs and coupling this with nutrition and food advice and education over a period of several months and so we've been doing this intervention for several years and when we started the intervention we were really assessing the effectiveness of the intervention based on dietary quality as reported by those self-assessments that i was previously talking about including 24-hour food recalls as well as other surveys that participants were taking um to express how they were feeling and responding to the intervention and as we've continued this work and have gotten more buy-in and excitement from the community um there's more and more enthusiasm for understanding what is actually happening um how the body's actually responding to this intervention and so I’m ringing Steve to ask hey what are the biomarkers that we can measure that what would you suggest that we measure for looking at the effectiveness of this intervention Steve great so Selena and virgil and wendy come to me and my team and we sit down and we have a consultation or discussion we search the literature together because I’m not an expert in everything most things so they point me in the right direction we search the literature to identify potential biomarkers and for this example here we've identified biomarkers that number one determine whether participants in their study on a sustainable diet are at decreased risk of heart disease so we want biomarkers for that and then we also want to determine whether participants have increased circulating vitamins and antioxidants after a meal of sustainable food say versus what we'll call mass-produced food so those are the biomarkers we decide to come up with and we come up with 15 candidate biomarkers that encompass genes hormones proteins vitamins and then and then we're going to ask all of you to help us determine the appropriate biomarkers for this study and so Steve presents me with this menu of different types of biomarkers and asks do you know what type of biomarker you want to study and i take this back to the community and we wanted to then um come to an understanding if we're all on the same page with what these biomarkers are um and so we're going to explain what these biomarkers are so we're all on the same page and so this is the menu we offer our clients and we're going to come back to the case study after we go through these different categories of biomarkers and it'll make more sense in a couple of slides so while we're going through the um different types of biomarkers um your challenge is to identify which type of biomarker category is the most appropriate for the sustainable diets intervention study and there are generally when you look at the experts in biomarkers they've classified biomarkers into about seven different categories which i have listed here and we're going to go through each one and provide a short definition of it and example of it being used in a community public health way so there's diagnostic biomarkers monitoring pharmacodynamic or response biomarkers predictive biosafety risk biomarkers and prognostic biomarkers and biomarkers are not exclusive to a specific category they can cross over for instance cholesterol can be a diagnostic biomarker it can also be a predictive biomarker of future heart disease and then really quickly the biomarker pipeline there's four components to it there's discovery which is the identification of potential biomarkers in human animal samples it tracks with a specific biological question and then once you've identified that biomarker it can how it is used determines its specific biomarker category the next step is analytical validation and that's where we create the actual assays to measure the biomarker and measure it well and accurately repeatedly and across a broad range of settings so it can't be that this specific biomarker can only be measured in our lab here it needs to be able to be measured across the country across the world in the same way for it to be a solid biomarker after that it goes to what's called clinical validation where the biomarker is validated in large cohort studies that are statistically powered to determine if it holds up across multiple genders ethnicities races what have you and then once it passes clinical validation it can go into clinical utility where it's approved as an official biomarker that improves patient outcomes or potentially reduces healthcare costs [Music] and a lot of our biomarkers that we measure are not at that clinic you clinical utility level maybe someday with more of our research or combining our research with research across the world they will move there but a lot of them were kind of in the clinical validation world where we're measuring them in different populations intervention studies but they're not true strong biomarkers yet first off is a diagnostic biomarker and this is a biomarker used to confirm the presence of a disease or a condition of interest or to identify individuals with a subtype of disease an example we're going to use here is hemoglobin a1c which is a measure validated measure of diabetes and based on your circulating levels of hemoglobin a1c you can be stratified into normal healthy pre-diabetes or diabetes so potential usage in our public health or community health research would be a researcher who's studying food insecurity or some sort of diet intervention uses circulating hemoglobin a1c levels to stratify their subject population into a normal healthy a pre-diabetes or a diabetes status next up is a monitoring biomarker and this type of biomarker focuses on changes in the biomarkers value um as an indicator of a specific condition uh for example a an intervention or some sort of environmental exposure over time um an example of this is for example a researcher will measure stress levels during the covid19 pandemic as well as different policy interventions that may be implemented to determine the impact of this exposure and this um event on stress levels and then the association of that with other socio-demographic factors and i just wanted to point out that a lot a lot of these usage examples that we're providing are actually things that are we're doing with our researchers on campus so they're legitimate use of biomarkers for these different categories next up is a pharmacodynamic or response biomarker and this is a biomarker whose level changes in response to an exposure to a medical product so for instance a drug an environmental agent such as a toxin pollution or food a meal it often overlaps with a monitoring biomarker except it's not measured serially it's measured kind of at a one snapshot time point and one of our researchers here is measuring inflammatory biomarkers in the joint fluid of ranchers after a calving session so after the cows are born to determine whether there's implications for long-term joint health joint health and arthritis in these cattle ranchers that's an example of a response biomarker next up are predictive biomarkers predictive biomarkers help us identify individuals in the population who are more likely than others without the biomarker to respond a certain way in response to an intervention a treatment or an environmental exposure for example um there is a study that's happening with sleep researchers that are looking at gene variations among teenagers in a tribal community to predict how they may respond to a meditation-based sleep intervention Steve if you wanted to provide any more detail on that study no the idea is just based on their genetic code we may be able to predict ahead of time who will respond to this intervention beneficially or not and if we know ahead of time that based on their genetic code that they're not going to respond then let's not waste our time with it let's figure out another intervention that works better for those specific people that's the idea of using a predictive biomarker is a responsive determining who's a responder and non-responder to whether it's a drug intervention a lifestyle intervention a biosafety biomarker is measured before and after after an exposure to a medical product a drug an environmental agent to indicate the likelihood presence or extent of toxicity a lot of drugs interventions and exposure can have undesirable or harmful and toxic effects and these biosafety markers can provide the ability to detect these adverse effects and we have researchers around montana who are measuring blood arsenic other heavy metals in communities around mining sites to determine whether they've had exposure to these a toxins biomarker is used to look at the likelihood of a specific clinical event or progression of disease or the reoccurrence of a disease in patients who have a specific condition of interest um and then Steve if you can share the example yeah in this example we have researchers who in a rural population of montana they're collecting urine and they're measuring different metabolites in the urine to to try to determine the duration before that specific participant or patient needs to go on dialysis and dialysis and the rural setting is very difficult to get to there aren't a lot of dialysis clinics so if we're able to determine based on what's floating around in their urine how much time we have before they get to that end stage renal failure where they need dialysis then it can be very useful both for figuring out how they're going to get there and other things and this is our last biomarker category i believe this is a risk biomarker and this is a biomarker that indicates the potential for developing a disease in a normally healthy person who does not currently have a specific disease so it differs from a prognostic biomarker where a prognostic is somebody in a disease state already and a risk biomarker is in a healthy person and it determines their likelihood of moving to a potentially pathogenic condition an example here is we have community health researchers studying obesity and college students on campus and around the state and they're looking at different inflammatory markers to identify patients based that may be at risk at greater risk of developing heart disease so now we've presented our range of different types of biomarkers monitoring uh predictive prognostic um and your task is to help us determine uh based on the types of biomarkers we presented um what is the most suitable biomarker category or categories for the sustainable diets intervention on the flat head community that i had earlier shared about and so i think you should be able to um type in the chat box i believe that's correct yes so we'll take a few moments for participants to propose a category of biomarkers based on what we just presented and if that's not working go to the q a not seeing any responses yet um i see your response from jason oh here we go excellent alex says chat isn't working okay thanks alex um it is working for some but for those who it's not please just go to q a and we will um list your answers there I’m seeing another from an kikkanen Selena are you registering these or do you want me to I’m saying that yes i see that i see the responses i was giving participants a few more moments right oops okay let's um give you a few more seconds to respond excellent um okay so i see some responses from um jason carter and and uh ticking and conan sorry i miss pronounced your last name um and so and suggests some of the broader categories of types of biomarkers monitoring predictive and framework dynamic and then jason in the chat presents um specific types of biomarkers um cortisol melatonin um and i can't pronounce the last one but it's in the chat window and so I’m passing it on to you Steve of based on this information what we presented what your consultation services would provide me as a public health researcher sure so going back to ann's monitoring biomarker we could monitor over time how a specific intervention such as a sustainable diet intervention changes levels of circulate inflammatory markers or cholesterol or whatnot so that's a great example of a monitoring biomarker i think next she stated a response or pharmacodynamic biomarker which is what we had mentioned earlier where we compare the immediate response in the blood to a sustainable meal versus a non-sustainable meal and look at inflammatory markers or antioxidants vitamins minerals the bioavailability that comes from the food and ends up in the blood that's the example of a response mile marker and then what was her third category and then predictive predictive and so yeah so predictive would also be really applicable thinking about um specific um characteristics so a lot of the participants in our intervention have pre-existing health conditions and chronic disease um and so then we can sort of take that into account in looking at how they may respond to the specific intervention exactly and that's an example of how category or biomarker categories can kind of cross over with each other so you can use a predict a diagnostic or predictive biomarker to stratify your population and then determine how they may respond so a responder non-responder responder type biomarker um and then i see jason had like specific biomarkers um that he um presented so i think cortisol is a really great great um example um a lot of in the more social science interviews that we do in surveys a lot of participants know that they overall feel less stressed because of the change in their eating and so i think it is a really powerful idea to measure cortisol um something we have not done before um and then in general um also from sort of our well-being surveys um participants say that they feel better have more energy and are more well-rested um so these are some other good biomarkers to take into account Steve it doesn't look like you're sharing your screen anymore yeah something happened um okay i can pop the show up on my screen if that let me try this one more time it says you disabled it oh well hang on just a sec sorry about that I’m not sure where that happened but let's fix that thanks for your patience everybody so I’m making you uh the host i am now the host and i will share and we will continue onward thank you for your patience we'll get there oh there we are um so what does this all mean um there's lots of different biomarkers that we can use um in our research and so um the goal is for the biomarkers core to really provide some sort of guidance on the specific type of biomarkers and our facility and see if we'll talk more about the analytical um instrumentation that we have but we're able to really measure a whole range of biomarkers whether it be genes proteins lipids hormones um specific secondary metabolites and nutrients and we also have the capacity to look at these biomarkers in a whole range of human samples whether it be blood saliva urine cells and tissues um also we are connected to other core facilities and so if we can't measure it ourselves we are also um happy to sort of correspond with some of the biomarker analysis with other facilities as well um and passing it on to you Steve yeah i we're a little messed up here hold on i think we had the wrong show up for a hot second there technical difficulties all right here we're back on track now all right going back to our case study Selena virgil wendy and i we met we picked our biomarkers we're going to pick predictive monitoring and response biomarkers the next thing I’m going to do with them is sit down and talk about how they're going to collect their samples as i mentioned this is in my opinion probably the most important thing and we're going to tell them that we want people collected at the same time each day especially if we're looking at things like cortisol which have diurnal patterns throughout the day we want them fasted for four hours if we're looking at things related to metabolism and potentially diabetes we want the samples collected in this type of tube we want this much collected and we want it frozen immediately those are the kind of things we'll discuss and i can provide strategies to them to make that happen then note also about that um with the sample collection working with tribal communities we can also um provide language um regarding what will happen once the samples have been collected um and who owns the samples and so as you all know there have been a lot of cases in the past where there has been misuse of samples and that's a huge concern in tribal communities and so um as our sustainable diets intervention is happening um in a tribal community that we have a lot of sensitivity to the ownership of the samples and um one of our services in the core is to work with investigators to provide that language um and that sort of communication so you can work with your community advisory boards in tribal communities about that and we also have a very clear language as to like the ownership of the samples and the samples going back to the community so very clear protocols around that yeah and we have a slide for that not in this show but i can add it to the presentation before sue posts it that way because that's a very good point when we work with certain communities about who owns the samples and how they're used and disposed of etc after they've collected their samples they will send them to me or we can potentially collect them with our great research bus which is a whole another webinar and i get those samples in my lab and then my team runs the specific assays for the biomarkers the candidate biomarkers that we selected and we'll run them to the best of our ability and we'll run the various necessary controls that are required to know our results are accurate and we can stand behind them and once we can do that we will provide the results to Selena virgil wendy if it's a biomarker with a reference range for instance cholesterol or blood glucose will also provide that reference range to them so they can see where their specific population falls in the reference category a lot of biomarkers don't have reference ranges and there's a broad degree of their quantification in different biological fluids and in those cases we just provide the results then once we have the results we can work with Selena virgil wendy biostatistician to determine the best way to approach statistical analysis so how do we integrate this biomarker data with potential survey data whether it's correlations regressions different mathematical models to figure out who is driving who we work with them if they want that's optional and then finally once everything is put together we are willing to work with researchers on manuscript preparation whether it's writing a methodology writing a certain results section right now we're asking that for sure you acknowledge the TBCL in the paper because that's important for our advertising and for nih and all that and then if we spend a significant amount of time going through the literature and validating assays and other things like that we ask that we're included for the time being as co-authors because that also helps show our sustainability and our importance and value to nih so as a public health researcher health equity researcher it's um really assuring how the translation of biomarkers core kind of i won't say holds your hand but really takes you step by step through the whole process of visualizing the study um walking through the sample collection corresponding with the community can help actually collecting the sample doing the analysis helping with the interpretation of the results and potentially bringing it to publication um and so our goal really is to help take public health research health equity research to the next level um and the way the process is set up is really to walk researchers through each step of the research process and the next four or five slides are just focusing on the major instrumentation in our lab and I’m I’m going to breeze through it just because i don't think it's really important for this presentation we can always talk about that later i'd rather get to the fee structure and then open it for any questions because that might lead to a good discussion you can read these at your leisure but we have a multiplex system that allows us to in a very small small small sample size measure up to a hundred different things in one sample it's very powerful to do that in a small sample size because you don't need to collect gallons of blood or saliva or urine from people we can measure genes proteins hormones what not with this instrument we also have a state-of-the-art plate reader that measures fluorescence luminescence absorbance and we use these to measure different circulating molecules as well as molecules specifically from cells and tissues this also has the ability to quantify nucleic acids which is important to a lot of basic researchers on campus we have a beautiful uh liquid chromatography system that Selena's in charge of and we use that to quantify uh metabolites nutrients in the blood you're in different biological fluids or cells that we can't use do doing using our other systems we have a new quantitative pcr system that was originally or was a while ago being used for covid testing now we're using it to measure gene expression for different researchers in animal tissues in vitro cell culture biological fluids and then we have a flow cytometer an easy to use one these can be pretty complicated but this is relatively user friendly to allow us to immunophenotype or look at shifts in cell populations in primarily the blood or other biological fluids and then we have a lot of minor instrumentation that we don't need to go through i would love it if once covet is over you all come to visit the lab and we can do walk-throughs and really show you our capabilities because it's a beautiful lab space thanks to Dr. carter and the rest of the admin team and we have a lot of great capabilities to either allow you to use our equipment or help you with your research now getting to the last question which I’m sure is what you all want to know about how much does all this cost and unfortunately Selena and i don't have a solid answer because it just depends what you want to do i will say a few things we have a tiered structure meaning that care researchers get a very strong discount inbury and other ctrp researchers get a strong but less strongest care discount and then MSU gets a discount compared to industry and other academic institutions we're way less expensive than similar labs around the country and we're doing that because we're trying to drum up business right now to build our model it also allows us as we drum up business to work out a lot of the kinks of a new lab which are occurring daily i encourage you to visit our webpage here we'll see if i can do that this is under the care website if you scroll down to the bottom it goes over a lot of what we covered today there's a service fee for investigators that you can look through just to get an idea of some of the different assays we offer and how much they may cost you for instance if we wanted to look at something in the blood if you wanted to look at crp which is a measure of inflammation and can predict heart disease in certain people we can see that it would cost roughly 988 bucks for non-academic industry folks and then i can't see much less for care users and i will say that these are ballparks these prices are always changing but this can give you an idea of what it may cost the best bet is to contact Selena and myself and we can go over what you want to do and come up with a more accurate budget we're also happy to write grant materials if you want to write us into your grants that's brilliant and that will help us if you know you have fifty thousand dollars worth of biomarkers that we come up with we'll write that section for your grants we'll provide all the necessary supplementary material and whatnot to we hope help you get that grant that is all we have today please ask us anything i know biomarkers may be new too oops there we go you maybe new to a lot of you please ask us any questions how we can help you further if you have any ideas for new instruments that may be useful to you we can always write grants and try to get those or new services other services that may be beneficial please speak up well thank you so much Selena and Steve and i do have a question from jason carter are you currently doing any studies analyses or neo epinephrine epinephrine melatonin leptin and or is it relent growing yes those are uh leptin and ghrelin or satiety and adipose related hormones we are we've measured leptin in a decent number of samples jason in the blood uh relin simple easy to measure we have not measured any of those hormones and those are a little more complicated to measure i believe because they have a very short circulating half-life so you need to have some good stabilizers in your collection tubes but it's something we can easily do great um and I’m seeing you know these questions that you ask on your screen if you if any of you want to i can actually unmute you or if you uh have some ideas regarding um what what you need or want from the lab or suggestions to make the lab better type them in here um or ask other questions i think can you unmute them sue that would be i can if someone wants to chat i can work on on mute let me see if i can unmute everybody great to hear some voices okay well i guess if anybody wants to be unmuted just throw something in the chat and I’ll go ahead and unmute you and and while we're waiting for that um so really truly what is the best way to to communicate with with you Steve and celina just email to initiate a conversation or do do you look for any kind of forms to be submitted or anything like that well right now um as we're in our infancy we really started in july of this year we have an email address TBCL.montana.edu that comes to us shoot us an email and we will set up a zoom or whatever is necessary to begin facilitating yeah and then um as people are thinking of potential questions or you can ask studies that you may have and um we can provide some suggestions for some biomarkers so it'd be good to hear what some of your needs are um but just going back to the point of what Steve was saying for instrumentation ideas um Steve that's a really great point we're very open to writing grants for getting instrumentation and then sort of going back to that concept of sustainability of labs you know instrumentation takes a tremendous amount of expertise to handle but also there's a lot of cost for keeping it and maintaining it and so by having big pieces of instruments in these core lab facilities it really helps with the sustainability model on that individual researchers don't have to think about the maintenance and these high service fees year to year and so if you have ideas of instrumentation as well please be happy please be free to uh put that in the chat window so we can consider that and then work with you on writing grants for that not seeing a lot in the chat or the q a while while we're waiting there um do you have any comments on turn around town I’m sure I’m sure it has to do with the biomarkers being measured but um how is the staffing and how uh how long does it take to have results and I’m sure dance oh it takes way too long unfortunately uh right now the staffing is just me and that's a little overwhelming some biomarkers are really easy to measure they have reference ranges we've done their assays a million times and we can do it with our eyes closed other ones that are a little more exotic are not measured very often they can bring some complications where we don't know exactly what range we're looking for in a specific biological fluid and they require a lot more optimization which can take weeks so we had an investigator that wanted us to measure 40 biomarkers in different fluids we knocked off about 37 of them in a month or so and then the last three have taken several months because just optimizing and getting the right conditions has been very difficult and we are getting ready we hope to hire some new staff but right now with one person it's taking longer than we'd like than i'd like we are currently hiring a technician so we are um that's in the works and we are excited about that and maybe we can even post that position if any of you um know a technician that is looking for a position in our wonderful um biomarkers facility and then i also see um Dr. carter has a comment of how this intersects um with the internal grant program so be wonderful sue to I’ll meet Dr. carter um james if you're there could can you help me do that or Selena and Steve maybe Steve since you're sharing your screen I’m not able to do that right now and i definitely want to unmute Dr. carter um let's see where can i listen let's see i don't actually see an option to un uh that yeah to unmute attendees I’m sorry about that um [Music] well he is saying that he'd like to comment about how this intersects with our internal grant program here at MSU um and we will add something to what's posted online I’m doctor I’m awfully sorry Dr. carter that um we're having a little technical difficulty around that um and from ann in what would be the timeline uh regarding student training is it dependent on on the assays involved are there restrictions on access to the lab and would the students be responsible for providing the different reagents etc uh i guess that's a open question right now Selena and i have decided for the time being that we're not going to allow a lot of people in our lab for training so maybe next spring we hope that we can open the lab for training and then it just depends on the specific assay how simple or complex it is is really what it's going to come down to as far as training goes and it can be that that's where we can have a conversation with the specific researcher about do we purchase the reagents which might be better we we buy a lot of reagents and we're able to sometimes get both discounts or we have good relationship with reps which reduces the cost or you can buy reagents we can suggest certain assays to you so that's where one of those conversations would be helpful and we can come up with a better game plan great and um also Dr. alex adams the director of care um as asking me to announce that care isn't firing is hiring lab support so that will also help with the equation there um well Steve and Selena do you have anything else you'd like to add we're coming up to the top of the hour i'd like to thank you very much and our participants um is there anything else you'd like to say no just thank you and please email us if you have any questions that you think of down the road or if you have any studies in mind about how we can help you just email TBCL at montana and we'll try to make it happen yeah and as you're thinking about new research ideas uh for example the internal rfp that um Dr. carter mentioned um wonderful to you know as you're con conceptualizing your research projects it's a good time to start the conversation with us so even before you write the proposal we can work with you on how you can have a biomarker section or aspect in your proposals and your studies and so keep us in mind as you have new research ideas and thank you all so much for joining during your lunch hour. Yes, thanks, everybody. Have a great day!