March 2019

Uncharted Waters

How TRP is taking #ScienceForAll to the next level in 2019

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This year, The Reagent Project (TRP) is on track to do what no other organization has done before: Turn forgotten lab reagents into the fuel that financially strapped scientists need to test their innovative ideas. In well-funded labs, approximately 85% of reagents can remain languishing on cold-storage shelves unused and destined for the toxic waste bin, according to TRP’s own 2015 analysis. That means a significant portion of a $19 billion a year domestic industry could be trekking about the globe tackling some of the world’s most pressing research problems. Instead, these unused reagents stay put and comprise 40% of the nation’s hazardous waste, according to the American Chemical Society. Treating and disposing of them costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and leaks can result in dangerous environmental disasters, often in communities least able to afford a clean-up. TRP is proud to pioneer a better way.

Up to now, TRP has been ensuring that used lab equipment is given a second life by researchers around the globe. To move forward into the uncharted territory of reagent donations, partnerships will be key. And in 2019, we are expanding our partnerships on all fronts and ensuring #ScienceForAll. Without partnerships, we couldn’t fund our operations (Thank you donors!). We wouldn’t have anyone with brilliant ideas to donate gently-used lab supplies to (Thanks brilliant scientists!). We couldn’t store or ship our equipment to those scientists in the U.S. and around the world. And we wouldn’t have any equipment or reagents to donate (Thanks Celgene!).

I’m happy to share with you exciting new 2019 partnership initiatives that will help us get our very first reagents and other supplies to the scientists who need them….

1.     When most of us watched the current refugee crisis, the worst since WWII, start to unfold, we felt helpless to do anything to staunch the human suffering. Not the shipping company Flexport. They launched an initiative, Flexport.org to help small NGOs ship supplies to the front lines of the crisis in Syria and around the world. Now, they’ve expanded, and are partnering with TRP to help us get our items around the globe faster than ever at an affordable price. First things first, we are arranging to ship several items to a university in the Caribbean, where lab samples are frequently contaminated, and made unusable, due to too much equipment sharing.

2.     A community lab has offered TRP a home: GenSpace in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. GenSpace offers afterschool science programs and continuing education courses taught by instructors from some of New York City’s top institutions. I recommend their genome editing class!

3.     By now everyone knows, online matchmaking is where it’s at. So instead of relying on near-rotary ways of communication like email, this year TRP is building its own dating site. Our new web portal will partner any scientists who visits our website with the items they need live and instantaneously. And they don’t even have to have drink first. Stay tuned for more!

In short, we are getting faster and broader and stronger in 2019—and more ready than ever to serve as a (re) agent of innovation. We are so grateful for everyone partnering with us in our quest to ensure all the world’s brightest, and most innovative minds can pursue their burning lines of scientific inquiry, no matter how well-funded their lab or their country of origin.

Marcella FloresComment