In the rush to publish papers and secure grants, it is sometimes forgotten that the goal of biomedical research is not to outdo one another, but rather to better understand nature and the inner workings of life. This goal is seen in a new light after the destruction caused by hurricane Sandy. In addition to the widespread devastation, biomedical research at New York University School of Medicine took a significant blow. Flooding at one of the university’s three animal care facilities resulted in the loss of significant parts of their rat and mouse colonies. Other equipment and reagents were also lost to the flooding. Researchers estimate years of research were washed away by this hurricane in a single night.
This is not just a crisis for the people who used these reagents, but for the entire biomedical research community. This research will take years to recover and may have set back progress in a variety of fields. The biomedical research community is typically very generous in sharing resources and reagents with other researchers. We at ASBMB urge our members to reach out to their colleagues in New York to do what they can to soften the blow of this loss of research for members of the NYU research community.
UPDATE: The biomedical community is beginning to reach out to researchers at NYU and help them recover lost work. If you’re able, please do your part!