The Virtual Institute of "Wet" Biology
Many scientists, especially in teaching colleges, have little
time for research, many have enough time to develop small projects often
alone or with (B.Sc. or M.Sc.) students. These projects many time do
not amount to publications nor to achieving grants or substantial
funding in today's competitive grant environment.
The virtual institute of "wet" biology would offer such
scientists several avenues to broaden the scope of their research:
1. By joining forces with many other scientists of the same type and
nature to a much bigger effort.
2. By joining a leading group in the field together with few other
3. By forming a multinational group of joint effort.
4. By joining a group of reagents sharing: Proteins, Enzymes,
Antibodies, Plasmids, cells chemicals in a specific field of research.
5. By joining a multi-talent groups working on the same problems from
different experimental approaches.
6: provide technical help and consulting services from established group
to "start-up" (research groups).
The VIWB would have to face several problems that
collaborative research projects face. 1. The problem of secrecy 2.
Assuring continuity 3. Authorship 4. Funding 5. Institutional
requirements. 6. Contact and Technology for Meeting collaborator. 7.
Propariety rights. While the VIWB think the members of each projects
should agree on the solutions to each of these problems, the VIWB and IB
would help with the technical aspects of communications (forming news
groups, mailing lists, rooms in bioMOO or chat tools etc.), as well as
with helping contact the important publishers and the academic
institutions to negotiate solutions that would meet all requirements or
find creative solutions that would be accepted.
The VIWB would start by accepting scientists which have started already
working in small scale scientific activities, and big groups that have
started preliminary works. We suggest that each scientist would arrange
an official OK from his Institute to his joining the project; including
the funding for the first physical meeting of the scientific core (this
could and should be joint with an international meeting in the field).
Prior to the meeting the VIWB would help and instruct the
members to a virtual conference to discuss some of the most burning
The members of the project or representatives of their
institutes would then sign an agreement that settle the collaborative
methods and solutions, which should include full disclosure and full
sharing of reagents and information on reagents, and results(?). The
VIWB and IB are not to be parts in the agreement (your opinion please!)
The No Projects No Institute Reality
I urge the IB members to suggest projects (hopefully some which you are
a part of, or if you have talked to the guy whose hands were in the
buffers): If it is OK with you all that this would not be done in open
forum, so that people could disclose information on they projects
freely, I could start a DB of the projects and then come up with a non
disclosing list of project descriptions (short) and E-mails of the
contact person. If you do E-mail me I promise to stay totally secret,
but do write me the following:
1. Field of biology
3. Your name and e-mail
4. Short non-secret description.
5. Your expertise
6. Any other information you think is needed to realize this project is
a good VIWB project.
One spark could start a fire:
- developing tools that may one day lead to
polysachharide automated sequencing,
- collaboration between protein epitope mapping lab, phage
display lab, monoclonal antibodies lab, and structural lab.
- collaboration between crystallization / crystal-growth
labs and phage display labs.
- Labs working on the mutagenesis of a certain protein (your
ideas for proteins please): database of unpublishables mutants - mutants
no interest I created, i.e. with no change in biological activities. you
have lots of them, and they make a beautiful story as a group only.
more projects on PCR and glycobiology are on the way, more coming every
@ Ofer Markman, September 1997
Ofer Markman, VIWB coordinator
Interrnet biologists http://emile-21.com/NetBio/welcome.html
VIWB Homepage: http://bio.md.huji.ac.il/~markman/index1.html
Ofer's home page: http://bio.md.huji.ac.il/~markman/index2.htmlmarkman at gene.md.huji.ac.il
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