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Access and use of the strain collections and CBG resources

Discussion and development of new collaborative projects that exploit these resources are strongly encouraged. Non-disclosure agreements, fair IP and materials use agreements, and other issues can be quickly and efficiently addressed through the Research Services Development Office at Brunel, following initial assessments of the suitability and tractability of new projects.

The strain collections are developed for project-directed target behaviours related to the interests of ourselves and our collaborators. However, these are biological and computational resources with wide application potential, and we want to support and encourage their use wherever they are useful and can contribute to the development of other project, especially in areas that contribute to the development of the sustainable bioeconomy, green and white technology, circular economy models, and bioremediation.

The strain collections are held locally, and collaborators (industrial or academic) can come to Brunel to perform the functional comparative work necessary to assess and rank-order behaviours of interest. This can be supported by new funding applications, or can be performed by visiting scientists. The analysis is performed locally at Brunel, using bespoke analysis tools that are not accessible externally. One reason for this is that the bioPart definition files are continuously being developed and improved, and it is important to use the latest versions. If specific equipment that we do not have is required for strain screening, then solutions to this need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

‘Private strain collections’ (that are not available to other collaborators) can be established on a per-project basis, but sequencing and informatics to prepare strains that are not going to be made more widely available for exploitation of bioParts and to contribute to other projects behavioural component characterization have to be fully funded by the project.

Mixed collection strategies are also possible. The CBH methodology requires behavioural ‘bins’ of 6 or more strains for each class of behaviour being compared. And, the optimal experimental design includes three or four functional classes (for example: good, high-average, low-average, poor). If a collaborator has strains with a particularly high desirable characteristic, then the basis of this behaviour can be interrogated by a combined analysis of these strains with the existing ‘open access’ strain collections. Using this approach the costs of a project to assess a behaviour can be minimized by using a strategy that uses specifically funded project-related strains and the open collection.

Similarly, use of the SREP strategy is also encouraged. It should be remembered that to pursue this strategy a (near) complete closed high quality genome sequence of the parent strain is a necessary pre-requisite or first project step. We are happy to support SREP projects performed locally or remotely by providing support with data analysis.

Please direct all enquiries about collaboration in these or other areas to: nigel.saunders@brunel.ac.uk