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Old 08-25-2016, 08:56 AM   #1
kgoglin
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Default How to increase sample submission to core

As a sequencing core facility, we encourage those in our institution to submit their samples to us. We perform DNA/RNA extractions, library prep, and sequencing on Illumina NextSeq and MiSeq platforms. Some of the P.I.s choose to have their own technicians perform the DNA/RNA extractions and library prep, and only use us for the library QC and sequencing. Doing this, lessens the work load for the core technicians, almost to the point where some core technicians won't be needed anymore. Then, when big projects do finally come to the core, the processing time will be much slower because there are fewer technicians.

Are there any cores out there that have run into this same situation? How can we encourage other P.I.s to allow the sequencing core to handle their samples from start to finish? I know mostly it's a money issue and if they are paying for their own techs, they will use them. But, overall, the core is here for a specific purpose and the core has the most experience and are able to troubleshoot most effectively because of that experience.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:19 AM   #2
thermophile
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I've been working to advertise my services beyond the cell and molecular depts that already use us (I focus on amplicons, so microbiomes). This is bringing in new clients, my biggest issues with them is getting them to increase their sample numbers so we can do something useful with the data.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:13 PM   #3
fanli
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I'll second the advertising, and also add that perhaps specializing in areas that are generally outside the reach/purview of most molecular labs might be beneficial. We've also had some success holding open houses with the major vendors (e.g. Illumina, Fluidigm) present. You'd be surprised how many people even at the same home institution might not even know the services you provide!
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:35 AM   #4
dpryan
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Aside from advertising, the general argument can be something along the lines of "We've already established protocols for most of the standard stuff, so how much time do you want your post-docs to waste reinventing the wheel when they could instead be doing something productive?" I know I was always happy in my post-doc days to off-load work like library prep. on a core facility, since (A) they were faster and (B) they do the preps so often that I could never have done a better job to begin with.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:28 AM   #5
thermophile
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I also offer workshops for analyzing the data. Many labs that are new to sequencing think that getting the data is the hard (and expensive) part, so when they get back MB-GB of data that they don't know how to handle they get frustrated and conclude that sequencing is a waste of their time/money.
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:39 PM   #6
kgoglin
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This is all great information and on all different levels. Thank you!
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:49 AM   #7
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@thermophile, great point. Most of the interest we've gotten from outside users has been because they were unhappy with the data analysis services they received. Having competent computational people with good communication skills is a huge win.
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