Frequently Asked Questions BMA platform
1) Why did the Swiss Plant Science Web establish a Bio-molecular analysis platform?
“OMICS” dominated the research area of molecular plant science in the past decade. Technical advances in genomics, transciptomics and proteomics enabled the plant community to analyse entire plant organisms, cells and compartments. Novel systems and functional machineries were identified that remained elusive with traditional genetic and biochemical techniques. But further detailed characterization is still necessary to assign particular roles. Thus, for a deep understanding, it is important that new systems are reconstituted, and biophysically characterized. The Swiss Plant Science Web established the Bio-molecular analysis (BMA) platform to introduce state of the art biophysical methods to the community of plant researchers.
The Swiss Plant Science Web opens the door to technology perhaps not previously considered within the Swiss Plant Science community. Biochemistry focused a few decades ago on the detailed characterization of enzymes. By establishing the Bio-molecular analysis platform, the Swiss Plant Science Web brings research back to its roots, but nowadays with state of the art biophysical instrumentation.
2) How does the SPSW Bio-molecular analysis platform serve the community of plant scientists?
The BMA currently offers service measurement on three different state of the art biophysical methods and provides education on these methods. The techniques are FTIR micro-spectroscopy, ITC micro-calorimetry & MALS light scattering. We can assist you in identifying additional methods that complement the techniques offered at the BMA, e.g. located at other SPSW platforms: http://www.swissplantscienceweb.ch/technology-platforms/. In addition, the BMA Geneva offers consulting services on how to produce and efficiently purify novel plant proteins, possibly in the context of interaction partners or as complexes.
3) How is the Bio-molecular analysis platform funded?
The SPSW and the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne are funding a platform manager positions, space and core equipment for the platform. Frequent user laboratories contributed also to equipment expenses to start this platform.
4) Are the services of the BMA free of charge?
Unfortunately not. To cover instrument maintenance and the cost of consumables, e.g. chemicals, a fee is charged to SPSW scientists for each sample analysis. Currently, for consulting and data interpretation, no fees apply, because the staff salaries are covered through the SPSW.
5) Are the services of the BMA open to non-SPSW scientist and commercial customers?
SPSW scientists have preferred access, because the BMA was initiated to support all plant scientists at the participating Swiss universities. External academic users are welcome to submit samples for analysis at a higher fee, or for SPSW conditions if they contribute to the infrastructure costs of the platform. Measurement and support for commercial customers are available. Details are arranged on an individual basis.
6) Do we request academic credit?
If the measurements of the BMA contribute to a scientific publication, we appreciate if you acknowledge our contribution. If our contribution is a significant part of your paper, you might consider co-authorship. There is no strict rule and it will be discussed for individual projects. It is also possible to initiate collaborations with the BMA, the details and cost contributions are arranged for individual collaborations.
7) What are the credentials of the BMA Geneva?
We have decade-long experience in producing and characterizing proteins and protein complexes. We are experienced in a broad range of biophysical methods and with biological systems. The protein analysis branch of the BMA is associated with the Research Group of Prof. Teresa Fitzpatrick and the Department of Botany and Plant Biology, University of Geneva. Their expertise in plant biochemistry and physiology strengthens the ability of the BMA to serve scientists of the Swiss Plant Science Web.