Society Spotlight: ABRF

By | April 10, 2014

By Allison Lea

This year, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary. A society of over 700 members from around the world, ABRF is dedicated to advancing core and research biotechnology laboratories through research, communication, and education. ABRF investigates and reports on the effectiveness of analytical techniques and methodologies by sponsoring multi-center research studies designed to assist its members incorporate new biotechnologies into their laboratories. Today, ABRF has five chapters, including one in India, and two affiliates.

Although it has successfully operated as an all-volunteer organization since its incorporation in 1989, ABRF hired its first Executive Director, Crystal N. Davis, MPA, in November 2013 to help accelerate the Association’s transition into a more established nonprofit organization.  The addition of the Executive Director was a positive step towards increasing institutional memory for ABRF leadership and providing full-time operational support in an effort to enhance the value and experience for ABRF members and sponsors.

On March 22-25, ABRF held its annual meeting, “Team Science and Big Data: Cores at the Frontier,” in Albuquerque, NM, where it officially celebrated its anniversary and had over 600 attendees. The meeting program included several satellite educational workshops, scientific workshops, group presentations, and awards presentations. The Association’s most prestigious award, the ABRF Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Biomolecular Technologies, was presented to Dr. Patrick O’Farrell for his development of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. ABRF also presented awards for Outstanding Research Group /Committee Member of the Year, Outstanding Manuscript, and several travel and poster awards.

The Journal of Biomolecular Techniques is the official journal of ABRF, which publishes four regular issues and one supplemental meeting issue per year. This peer-reviewed journal was established to promote the central role that biotechnology plays in contemporary research activities, to disseminate information among biomolecular resource facilities, and to communicate the biotechnology research conducted by ABRF’s research groups and members, as well as other investigators.

ABRF also publishes an annual newsletter to share member news, highlight Association activities and initiatives, examine lab tips and protocols, and feature issues related to administering a biomolecular resource laboratory. To further enhance the communication resources available to its members, ABRF hosts discussion forums on its website, providing a community to connect, pose questions, and discuss a wide range of topics.

In partnership with Vermont Genetics Network, ABRF developed the Core MarketPlace, a free online tool that allows core facilities to list and market their services.  Additionally, it incorporates a detailed search function for members to find facilities offering services that match their unique needs.

ABRF joined FASEB in 1998 and is represented on FASEB’s Board of Directors by Nancy D. Denslow, PhD, Professor Physiological Sciences at the Center for Environmental & Human Toxicology at the University of Florida. Jay Fox, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean of Research of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine represents ABRF on FASEB’s Science Policy Committee.

To learn more about ABRF, visit the Association’s website at www.abrf.org.

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