A core facility is a center of expertise in a particular technology necessary to modern life science research. In the past, even as recently as the 1980s, scientists could reasonably be expected to have mastered all the different technologies to conduct their research. However, with the advent of genetic engineering, highly specialized bio imaging, protein analysis and bioinformatics, research scientists can no longer possess a broad enough skills base to cover all the techniques necessary for cutting-edge research.
In many cases, core facilities originated as laboratories that developed particular techniques. As these techniques became more specialized and complex dedicated groups were set up to provide the technique as a service to other scientists. Over the past decade more and more specialist cores have appeared as life science research technologies continue to increase in complexity. Large research institutions and universities have increasingly embraced the core facility concept as an efficient and cost-effective way to leverage their research activities.
Core facility staff are frequently scientists who enjoy the technical aspects of research and want an alternative career pathway to a conventional PI or faculty position. As expert scientists in their particular area they can provide guidance to their colleagues from the point of designing the experiments through data acquisition, final analysis and preparation for publication.
Other shared resource infrastructures are also welcome within CTLS. Whether it is a technology platform, a support service such as a clinical laboratory, vivarium or greenhouse, a resource repository like a biobank, plasmid collection, cell line or model organism library. Any shared service or people who provide methodological and resource support, services and expertise in life sciences as well as administration of resources (financial, human resources, training and education, strategy and policy-making, and lobbying) are encompassed by our mission.
The life sciences represent any field of science or medicine concerned with increasing knowledge or improving human health. Biology, chemistry, agriculture, physics, computing, mathematics and medicine are all contributing to how we understand the life around us and how we strive to make a healthier and safer planet. Anyone who considers themselves working in a life science can become a member of CTLS.