Feb 5, 2016
Woman at microscope
The UCLA Core Technology Gateway website offers scientists an on-line directory of all the cores on campus providing advanced research technology.  
 
The increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of research often leads to the need for core facilities that are not well known to individual researchers. The cores website provides a portal to aid UCLA researchers in finding the most appropriate equipment and services for their task at hand. At this time, the website contains thirteen categories of facilities with a total of 62 links to various core laboratories.  
 
The Core Technology Gateway website was the inspiration of Michael Collazo, manager of the UCLA-DOE X-ray Crystallography Condition Screening Core Technology Center located in Boyer Hall. “This site is intended to serve as a searchable database of resources available through cores on campus and is the most complete directory to date.” Collazo said. “It has been designed with the ability to continue to grow and become more useful as it is contributed to.” 
 
Soon after he joined UCLA in 2012, Collazo realized the need to refer his users to the resources they needed. He explains,“My users were frequently surprised to discover an available resource on campus, which made me question my own visibility. By taking a well-planned approach, and by conducting a high volume of experiments using minimal resources, our users are able to remain at the forefront of discovery. It would trouble me if the only obstacle standing between UCLA researchers and their results was a lack of visible information.”
 
UCLA Core Technology Centers are units that provide access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and services to UC researchers and, sometimes, private institutions and enterprises.  As defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “core facilities” are centralized shared research resources that provide access to instruments, technologies, services, as well as expert consultation and other services to scientific and clinical investigators. The typical core facility is a separate unit within an institution and may have dedicated personnel, equipment, and space for operations. In general, core facilities recover their cost, or a portion of their cost, of providing service in the form of user fees that are charged to an investigator's funds, often to NIH or other federal grants.
 
As a participant in the 35th Semiannual Biotechnology Vendor Showcase at UCLA, Collazo met other UCLA core facilities managers, including Brent Gordon (Immuno/BioSpot Core) and Uma Dandekar (Genotyping & Sequencing Core).  He realized there was a need for an online directory of core facilities so he started reaching out to even more core facilities managers.  Collazo set up a meeting shortly after the showcase to discuss how the cores might organize.
 
UCLA-DOE web developers Thomas Holton and Alex Lisker had provided the tools to begin designing a new site for the X-ray Crystallography facility.  Their technological proficiency, and willingness to assist, inspired Collazo to work on a new core facilities site, “During this time, I discovered new graphic design tools, and refreshed myself on those I had learned to use as a teenager at an Oxnard College STEM program. My supervisor, and main supporter, Duilio Cascio encouraged me to begin working on a draft of the site that would become www.cores.ucla.edu.”
 
Collazo’s project is outside of his regular job duties but he is working from a commitment to the research mission. “During my time at UCLA, I have noticed the special attention of those in supporting roles to ensure the continuing advancement of our researchers. When there is a need, a resource is either found or it is invented. I am proud to be a part of this effort to present individuals with new tools, by which resources may be located more easily.”
 
“We are grateful to the office of the Vice Chancellor or Research for approving the domain. More cores are joining the site as it becomes a greater presence on campus. This work would not be possible without the collaborative efforts coming from the UCLA-DOE Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the gracious support and input we received from individual cores.”
 
For more information visit the UCLA Core Technology Gateway website.