I work as the Director of Marketing and Public
Relations at the Institute for Genome
Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a genome
research center launched in fall 2007. Here is a link to a 5-minute introductory
video to the Institute –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNQBHuk9Vuo
about the Institute for Genome Sciences
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) championed the concept of
starting the IGS as part of their strategic plan embracing the increasingly
integral role of genomic research in medical education and biomedical research.
Leading pioneers in genomics and bioinformatics were recruited to form IGS’s
core genomics & bioinformatics team. Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, an
internationally recognized expert in microbial genomics, was tapped to be the
Institute’s new Director.
Although it is a relatively new center, the
in-depth research experience of its scientific team has allowed IGS to quickly
garner several major federal grant awards and become part of strategic new
initiatives in genome science. These projects
are funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science
Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (among other institutions),
and have generated over $80 million in funding within a few years.
IGS scientists are leaders in genomics, infectious
diseases, epidemiology, organismal diversity, and bioinformatics. IGS’s
research is supported by two functional cores – the Genomics Resource
Center (GRC) and the Informatics
Resource Center (IRC). Experts in the GRC use the latest high-throughput
sequencing equipment to strategically manage various genome research projects.
The IRC bioinformatics department analyzes and “annotates” (or interprets) the
vast amounts of sequencing data that is produced by increasingly efficient
sequencing technology. Both groups support not only IGS scientists but also
campus researchers and national and international collaborators (here is a
about the GRC).
marketing applied at a research center?
My previous marketing experience was with
technology and healthcare companies – hospitals, HMO’s, and IT companies –
promoting their products and services. At the Institute, we’re not “selling”
products per se, but do promote our individual scientists, as well as the
research mission and results they continually produce.
While promoting scientists might have sounded too
“commercial” a decade ago, today’s research institutions use many of the same
promotion venues that private companies use: we promote individual
investigators in popular science media or general publications; nominate
researchers for awards; host various events for legislative and business
visitors; and, of course, maintain a strong online presence with social media.
Raising our visibility to allow us to recruit the
“best and the brightest” new talent is an ongoing process. Developing strategic collaborations with other
institutions is an important part of our marketing strategic plan.
Increasingly, foundations and federal agencies want their funded research to be
publicized and accessible to other researchers.
Disseminating information about scientific research to the general
public is becoming more important.
What’s our “professional neighborhood” like in this
BioPark in downtown Baltimore?
How do the scientists here interact with the professional schools around us?
To be continued in Part 2 of this introduction…