Dr. Reynolds has been a member of the NCI-Frederick research community for more than 25 years. He currently serves as NCI associate director and director of the Office of Scientific Operations at NCI-Frederick. Here, he discusses the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) at NCI-Frederick, which supports the facilities and research discussed throughout the rest of this special issue.
What makes the ATP at NCI-Frederick special?
NCI-Frederick's Advanced Technology Program is not only special; it's unique. Among our national laboratories, indeed among all national resources, the ATP offers highly specialized support in a complex and fast-paced biomedical research environment. Among the ATP's participating laboratories, we count such initiatives as genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, nanotechnology characterization, protein expression, histopathology, confocal and electron microscopy image analysis, and GMP manufacturing. NCI-Frederick's ATP is also home to the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC) and the only high-performance, high-capacity computer dedicated solely to medical research. The ABCC provides solutions for data-intensive computational biological problems and offers a broad spectrum of computer architectures, software packages, and consulting expertise. The ABCC also engages in collaborative research and training in computational biology and biomedical research.
Can researchers outside of NCI use ATP resources?
That's the best part. We provide these ATP services not only to NCI and NIH scientists, but, on a space-available basis, to other federal agencies and extramural biomedical researchers, as well. To see the full range of research support services, I encourage you to visit http://www.ncifcrf.gov/atp.
Why is it important for NCI-Frederick, a federal entity, to maintain the resources and programs available under ATP?
When others work with our scientists, it enables them to extend their inquiries to depths and in directions perhaps otherwise inaccessible. Our biomedical research scientists' work touches all aspects of scientific exploration, from routine laboratory processes to complex experimental design and interpretation of results. Providing these ATP services to others is not entirely altruistic on our part. Through the synergy we build with public-private collaborations and partnerships, we're able to bring the intellectual and empirical capital of the entire scientific community - academia, industry, philanthropy, government - to bear on two of the most critical health care issues of our times, cancer and AIDS.
In the most recent survey by the The Scientist magazine, which showed that NCI-Frederick is ranked second among the best places to work in research, respondents listed core facilities, such as those of the ATP, as a high-level factor in their job satisfaction. What are other reasons why people might enjoy working at NCI-Frederick?
In addition to our employees valuing their proximity to the ATP, they also gave top scores to our scientific library, its consistently forward-looking management and its holdings. I find it significant that an overwhelming number of the respondents cited their peers as excellent scientists, and 98 percent affirmed a high level of cooperation and collegiality among their peers. Those ringing endorsements of personal and professional satisfaction, coupled with almost universal agreement that core facilities and infrastructure are excellent, can't help but make for an ideal place to work. We're proud to be a part of this important and essential effort to improve the health of all people.