The San Antonio Medical Foundation (SAMF) unveiled the new San Antonio Bioscience Research Database Tuesday morning, the first website of its kind in the nation. The site, built by renowned local advertising and web development agency Texas Creative, features a directory of ongoing research by participating organizations, categories like medical devices or basic research, and areas of focus, such as cancer or trauma.

While there are other websites that offer broad-brush scientific networking or bioscience research collaboration online – albeit in a limited capacity – compiles a variety of ongoing bioscience research, currently from 11 different organizations located in San Antonio.

To apply as a participating bioscience organization, fill out the contact information form here.

Dedicated to cataloging bioscience research projects, the new website serves as a means to both increase collaborative efforts among local research institutions and their national and international peers, as well as provide a new tool for the city’s economic development efforts.

Competition within bioscience disciplines has been known to prevent researchers from sharing data publicly, which in turn impedes scientific progress as many scientists agree that sharing data through publicly accessible information is an essential component to advancing science.

 San Antonio Medical Foundation Chair Dr. Bryan Alsip.
SAMF Chair Dr. Bryan Alsip.

“Creating a single, transparent, and easy-to-use collection of research projects and data will help showcase the collaboration that exists here in San Antonio,” SAMF Chair Dr. Bryan Alsip said. “There’s nothing else like this, it’s a first of its kind.”

“The steering committee invited leading research institutions to talk about what form their research was in so we could make the website easy to use,” Website Steering Committee Chair Dr. Gabriele Niederauer stressed.

As a result, trending research projects will be featured on the website on a consistent basis to reflect the interests of users accessing the database.

“No other city in the U.S. has anything like this website to showcase (its) bioscience research,” Niederauer added, “(and) there is no fee for organizations to participate.”

SAMF oversees the website, which currently lists some 585 bioscience research projects underway at 11 public, private, governmental, and military organizations in San Antonio. As new projects are generated, participating institutions and companies can update the research listings through a password-protected system.

Gabriele Niederauer, chair of SAMF's website steering committee.
Gabriele Niederauer, chair of SAMF’s website steering committee.

“The website will help showcase the capabilities in the San Antonio bioscience industry to the rest of the country and the world,” Alsip emphasized. “There’s strength in numbers and this website reflects that strength.”

Representatives from participating organizations spoke about the value of bioscience online collaboration at the website’s launch.

“Texas Biomed uploaded its entire research catalog onto the website,” said Corbett Christie, vice president for institutional advancement at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. “Collaboration is a big part of what we do, as almost 60% of our projects involve an outside collaborator, which includes ones in San Antonio.

“This website helps deliver the message, the value of collaboration in research.”

Participants agreed that undertaking this effort helped highlight San Antonio’s bioscience ecosystem.

“This website is the first and only one as a city-wide endeavor to showcase bioscience research going on in the entire community, including governmental and military research,” SAMF President Jim Reed said after the launch.

The website will also be a recruiting tool for local research groups as both national and international scientists can easily navigate the website in search of areas of expertise represented in San Antonio.

City and County officials are keen to use the website as means of attracting highly educated talent to San Antonio, and, thus, help with economic development.

“What we have found is that the bioscience industry attracts a highly skilled workforce,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “This website will help those tap into the local resources available.”

“The fact that we have almost 600 bioscience research projects underway (in San Antonio) is impressive,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. “A truism for economic development is that smart people attract money, which attracts more smart people, which drives in more money. This tool lets everyone know that we have that pool of smart people here in San Antonio.”

The year of planning and meticulously designing the website has paid off – and in the process has astounded bioscience professionals with the depth and reach of San Antonio’s research efforts.

“It took a full year working with the participating research organizations to develop the protocols for the site, design it for maximum interaction, and then pull in the all the data,” Alsip explained. “All of us involved knew that there was much significant bioscience research being done here in San Antonio, but I’m not sure any of us knew both the quantity and sheer breadth of what is being studied here.

“Frankly, I think the 580-plus projects that are now listed on the site are just scratching the surface, and we expect that number to grow as more organizations and companies start to provide their data.”

The 11 charter participating research organizations, which include military organizations, nonprofits, and private companies, are:

Top image: The website showcases ongoing research projects in the bioscience industry in San Antonio.


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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science and veteran affairs.