How a Core can Save You Money, Time, and Space: A Roundtable Discussion with Current CU Boulder Core Facility Managers and Directors

Joseph Dragavon, University of Colorado Boulder
Dorothy Noble, University of Colorado Boulder
Theresa Nahreini, University of Colorado Boulder
Dustin Quandt, University of Colorado Boulder

In this 1.5 hour session, the organizers propose to organize several brief presentations that highlight the organization, operation, and impact of shared equipment facilities on their relevant research at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). The presenters will discuss multiple facets of their different facilities (listed below), including cost recovery models, reduction of duplicated instrumentation, and improved scientific rigor. These presentations will then be followed by a period of open discussion between the audience and a panel of facility directors wherein other topics can be discussed such as how to promote a user facility, establishment of best practices, and common pitfalls to avoid.

This session will be led by directors/managers of the following facilities at CU Boulder.

  • The BioFrontiers Advanced Light Microscopy Core is an open-access user facility that serves the entire CU Boulder community. Home to eight different microscopes and analysis stations, the BFALMC augments investigations and discovery in the field of light microscopy by providing expert assistance at every stage of scientific research, from experimental concept to image acquisition to data analysis. The resources found within the BFALMC are used annually by more than 120 users from 35 labs.
  • The BioCore manages shared laboratory spaces and research equipment in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Integrated Physiology, and Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology departments. Equipment ranges from general equipment to unique and costly instruments. Maintenance, instrument usage tracking, and training is performed by the BioCore manager. The BioCore manager also connects researchers with shared equipment throughout these departments and a growing catalog of available shared resources is maintained. The BioCore offers the following services: equipment and shared lab management, connecting researchers to needed equipment, equipment storage, lab cleanouts, property management, and grant and contract compliance for equipment.
  • The Research Facilities for Environmental Engineering consist of approximately 14,000 sq. ft. of laboratories providing shared equipment, instrumentation, supplies and support in research covering environmental engineering processes, environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, water quality, air quality, molecular biology, toxicology and field ecology. This laboratory setup facilitates collaboration, efficiency and provides a consistent framework for students and faculty to complete quality laboratory research.
  • The Biochemistry Cell Culture Facility (BCCF) at CU Boulder is a shared facility with personnel and shared resources for conducting cell culture work. 19 labs use the facility from three departments (the Biochemistry Division of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Chemical and Biological Engineering; and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology). The BCCF is not a fee for service core. Users conduct their own research in this Biosafety Level 2 facility with most labs having multiple users in the facility each day.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the many advantages to shared equipment;
  • Learn how core facilities benefit space and cost reductions;
  • Learn about the operational and theoretical expertise that result from cores; and
  • Learn about how core facility managers and directors are an invaluable resource for research and grant applications.


Joseph Dragavon Ė Biography Not Available

Dorothy Noble is the Laboratory Manager and Senior Professional Research Assistant for the Environmental Engineering Research Laboratories located in the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community (SEEC) on the east campus of the University of Colorado-Boulder. She has a Bachelorís degree in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a Masterís degree in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho. Dorothy has more than 23 years laboratory experience in municipal and academic laboratories overseeing laboratory operations, safety, state certifications, analytical method development and conducting water quality research and analysis.

Theresa Nahreini -Biography Not Available

Dustin Quandt - Biography Not Available


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