Disaster and Contingency Planning for Scientific Shared Resource Cores

Sheenah Mische, Advanced Research Technologies, Office of Science and Research, NYU Langone School of Medicine
Amy Wilkerson, The Rockefeller University

Advances in biomedical research - an increasingly complex collaboration of both basic and clinical science – are driven by improvements, innovations, and breakthroughs in technology. This increasing sophistication, combined with significant financial investment coupled with fiscal stewardship, has been the impetus for the growth of Shared Research Resource Laboratories (Cores) in academia, government and industry. Cores represent a central repository for institutional knowledge management, with deep expertise in the strengths and limitations of technology and its applications. They are also responsible for generating a significant and growing portion of the research data in academic biomedical research institutions. This concentration of instrumentation and resources in these shared resources may render them highly vulnerable to damage from severe weather and other disasters. As such, protection of these assets and the ability to recover from a disaster is increasingly critical to the mission and success of the institution. Here we provide an overview of key elements required for shared resource disaster and business continuity plans as an integral part of the institution's overall plans. Guidance, tools for developing these plans, and real-life lessons learned at a large research institution in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy will be presented.


Sheenah Mische is Senior Director of the Division of Advanced Research Technologies (DART) and Associate Professor of Pathology at NYU Langone School of Medicine. In her role she provides oversight for all scientific shared resource cores, supporting collaborative translational interdisciplinary research. Sheenah has 30+ years of executive leadership in academia and industry, integrating multidisciplinary teams and strategic technology investment to drive innovation and collaborations. Before joining NYU Langone, she was Director of Translational Sciences and Director of Protein Resources for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that she was Director of the Rockefeller University Technology Center. She received her MS in Biochemistry from NYU and PhD in Experimental Pathology from Yale University. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Federation of American Scientists and Experimental Biologists (FASEB), chairs the FASEB Shared Research Resources Subcommittee, and is a member of the Association of Biomolecular Facilities (ABRF), serving on the Executive, Career Development, Education and Core Rigor and Reproducibility Committees.

Amy Wilkerson is the Associate Vice President for Research Support at The Rockefeller University, with administrative oversight of the University’s centralized core facilities, two key support services (Materials Management, Laboratory Safety & Environmental Health), and inter-institutional agreements for shared resource centers. She is responsible for development of new core facilities and encouraging collaborative endeavors within the institution and with neighboring institutions, as well as for many aspects of scientific research compliance and integrity. As a member of the senior administration, she is involved in policy and program initiatives and serves as the Emergency Coordinator and the Export Control Officer. Amy chairs both the University’s IBC and the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative (Tri-SCI) Administrators Group which staffs and supports the Tri-SCI ESCRO Committee, and she co-chairs the University’s Sustainability Committee. After completing an A.B. at Smith College, Amy obtained an M.A. in geochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.


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