By Paula Clifford -

The Rodent Breeding and Colony Management Seminar and Vendor Fair started when I was a Training Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania.  The research program was growing and housing space for rodents was becoming prime real estate, as was in most similar institutions.  One day I happened to be walking through one of the buildings between training sessions and began an informal conversation with a research technician.  I asked him how his lab was dealing with the need for more space.  He said, “If I managed my colony better, we would have plenty of space.”  I was shocked and started asking other researchers about their space and colony management practices.  I found the same story over and over again.  Things like genotyping too late, not weaning on time, and other common themes that reflected poor colony management, and therefore, a lot of wasted space.  From then on, I was determined to provide the tools needed for researchers to manage their colonies as efficient as possible to save both space and money.  We invited experts in rodent breeding and colony management, and vendors who provided products or services that could help researchers better manage their colonies and support their research to our first event in 2003.  We invited scientists from outside the institution and it was a success, for both researchers and vendors.  My favorite feedback from a researcher was, “Thank you for getting all this information all in one place!”  My favorite feedback from a vendor was, “I go to the Bio Fair where hundreds of people attend, but I get more people stopping at my table, and more direct leads, at this event.”   After I left Penn in 2009, I knew how much time and work it took to coordinate the event, and how much more training was now being provided by the training group, so ACTS asked the University of Pennsylvania if we could coordinate the event for them.   They said yes and after that we “took the show on the road.”  Since then, ACTS has hosted two events at Penn, one event at Baylor College of Medicine, and one event at Mount Sinai.  We continue to get positive feedback from both participants and vendors.


AuthorCaroline Thompson