(From left): Tatiana Ferrer, Research Coordinator, WEB; Greg Okri Crow, Ph.D., Research Professor and WEB Leader; FAU port branch; and Stephen Jackson, PhD, associate director of Product Applications in Genetic Sciences at Thermo Fisher Scientific, stand alongside Applied Biosystems SeqStudio Flex Genetic Analyzer provided by Thermo Fisher for environmental research including studies of endangered species.
Unique agreement between Florida Atlantic University‘s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution And the Thermo Fisher Scientificthe world’s leading science service, will enable researchers to advance marine science and conserve endangered species around the world from the tropics to the Arctic.
As part of a public-private collaboration, Thermo Fisher assists FAU Harbor Branch’s efforts by supporting the development of laboratory infrastructure that includes state-of-the-art genetic analysis platforms, which are essential to advance studies of marine ecosystems at the molecular level. The FAU Harbor Branch will evaluate Thermo Fisher technology and provide feedback on how the platforms can improve applications in marine sciences and species conservation.
A major obstacle to progress in studies of marine species and ecosystems is the lack of funding opportunities for costly infrastructure—such as large molecular platforms, laboratory instrumentation, and downstream data analysis software—needed to process and analyze large numbers of specimens from the endangered ocean.
In recent years, this shortage has become a major obstacle to resolving emerging environmental crises. Time is running out, especially in remote areas and underserved communities around the world, where commitment to solving emerging environmental issues is often greater but access to science and technology is lowest.
“We needed to replace the backbone for our lab, the Applied Biosystems 3130 Gene Analyzer. However, it was difficult to find funding to replace this important tool,” he said. Greg Okri Crowe, Ph.D., research professor at FAU Harbor Branch and leader of the WEB: Wildlife Evolution and Behavior Program. “Without the Analyzer, our team could not make progress on a series of important projects from the tropics to the Arctic. Therefore, we approached Thermo Fisher with a new idea of access to essential equipment in exchange for our vision of how their technology can best serve efforts to solve life’s issues wild and growing environment.”
After discussions with O’Corry-Crowe and the research team, Thermo Fisher answered the call to assist in the research and conservation efforts at FAU Harbor Branch by providing the latest Applied Biosystems developed SeqStudio Flex Genetic Analyzer.
said Stephen Jackson, PhD, associate director of Product Applications in Genetic Sciences at Thermo Fisher.
Work is already underway on the benefits of the new collaboration with the addition of the SeqStudio Flex Genetic Analyzer in the WEB Lab, which enables scientists to analyze genetic samples. In addition to technology support, Thermo Fisher will provide much-needed expertise and assistance in research and development. They are also keen to provide the next generation of genetic platforms to come off the top including new Applied Biosystems from Thermo Fisher’s SeqStudio Flex Genetic Analyzer. Collaboration between the public and private sectors together is expected to make significant progress.
“Genetics has been an important focus of conservation biology because it helps us understand the evolution of endangered species and allows us to develop more effective management strategies,” he said. Tatiana FerrerWEB Research Coordinator. “We were thrilled with Thermo Fisher’s response to support our endeavours, and we are excited to collaborate with them on these important conservation-related scientific initiatives.”
WEB is devoted to basic and applied research on marine mammals, including remote locations such as the Arctic. Research focuses on the behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary aspects of species vulnerability and resilience, particularly in relation to climate change. Scientists combine molecular genetic analysis with field ecology to study the molecular and behavioral ecology of marine and other endangered species and apply ancient DNA technology to answer ecosystem and evolutionary questions. Current field and laboratory studies at WEB include investigations of beluga whales, polar bears, star sea lions, ice seals and bottlenose dolphins.
“Among the many challenges we face in the field of conservation genetics is that much of our time is required to complete projects with limited resources. Additionally, under challenging field conditions such as work in the Arctic, it can be particularly challenging to collect samples.” “Now, with our partners at Thermo Fisher, we can work together to troubleshoot and develop new and innovative approaches to benefit both animals and humans.”
The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to provide greater access to scientific research and education by bringing technology into the hands of those on the front lines of dealing with environmental challenges and saving endangered species.
“The SeqStudio Flex Genetic Analyzer brought to us by Thermo Fischer is a powerful tool that will enable our scientists in the Wildlife Evolution and Behavior Program to quickly track down their research and enhance their ability to answer key scientific questions that affect us locally as well as globally.” James Sullivan, Ph.D., executive director, FAU Harbor Branch. “We are very grateful for their support and commitment to collaborating on preserving the environment.”