Q: Why are your services so expensive?!
A: They aren’t! Our rates are comparable to, or cheaper than, the majority of other academic proteomics facilities. We will work hard to maximise our sample throughput, and automate our procedures, so that we do not have to raise prices. Proteomics is expensive – MS instrumentation costs 100s of thousands of dollars, and must be replaced often to keep up with the state-of-the-art. In addition various work is labor-intensive, and we must cover staff costs.
Q: Why did you charge me when I didn’t get a successful result?
A: See our charging policy. We incur costs whether or not your sample results in the expected or desired result. We only waive charges if a failure is our fault, due to sample handling or instrument failure. We use standards and QA runs, process samples in batches, and can identify problems caused by issues in the core.
Q: How long does it take to get my results?
A: We accept samples from Monday to Friday during office hours. Samples accepted during a week will be processed (digested) starting on Thursday morning. The prepared samples will be then be run over the following days, the wait depending on the size of the sample queue. In quiet times your results can be available early the following week after your submission. In very busy times you may need to wait an additional week.
Instrument failure can cause delays – we will not jeopardize your experiment by rushing to run your samples if there is any doubt about the state of our instrumentation.
Q: Why do you charge more for in-solution samples?
A: The success of the core depends on optimizing workflows to deliver high-quality results quickly and cost-effectively. In-solution samples from customers can often contain MS incompatible buffer components, detergents, etc. which require extensive sample-handling to remove, and have the potential to contaminate instrumentation and require lengthy cleaning. In-gel digestion is a robust procedure that removes these risks, letting us keep prices lower, and increasing the reliability of the service. However, due to certain protocols which reuqire in-solution digestion, we offer this as a service. The customer is responsible for digestion, following the protocols provided by our core facility. We then run your sample on a lower-sensitivity instrument to check for contamination and successful digestion. The multiple mass spec runs necessitates the higher charge.
Q: Why don’t you offer service X, Y, or Z?
A: The services the core offers are carefully chosen to balance the needs of researchers at UTSW with resources such as instrumentation, staff time etc. We can’t offer all proteomics techniques as a service, but will regularly review those which we can offer, and are willing to discuss collaborative arrangements with some users who have specific requirements. The majority of experiments can be performed using our in-gel services – contact us and we’ll discuss how we can fit your experiment to our services.
Q: I read about X in a paper – can you do it?
A: Probably – most proteomics workflows described in papers can be adapted to our in-gel services. Contact us to discuss your experiment.
Q: Your online systems are too complicated, can I just bring my sample to the lab to submit it?
A: Sorry, you must enter your sample submissions online using our iLab system. We enforce this policy so we can track samples easily in busy periods. The system generates unique sample IDs so we don’t mix-up your samples with those of others. iLab also lets us manage billing easily – less staff time equals cheaper prices for analyses.
Q: I’m in a hurry – can I enter my samples in iLab after submitting my samples?
A: No. We require each sample to be added to iLab before submission in order to obtain the unique ID number provided by iLab for tracking purposes and so we can have the billing information before we begin to process the samples.