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Teamwork vital to research - managing the COEUR project

Cecile LePage
Cecile LePage, project manager of the TFRI Translational Program on ovarian cancer

Cancer research is a huge team effort, and our ovarian cancer program is an excellent example of the kind of teamwork that TFRI encourages and supports: ovarian cancer specialists from all across Canada work together to provide a vital resource for researchers around the world.

I am project manager of the Terry Fox Translational Program: Canadian Ovarian Experimental Unified Resource (COEUR) and we are developing a collection of ovarian cancer biological samples. This resource will be available for cancer researchers around the world who need high quality samples for their work.

As project manager of COEUR, my role is to act as a link between the many different parts of the project, from the moment samples arrive at our labs right through to reporting on our team’s research activities.

For COEUR to be a valid and valuable resource, we must make sure that all samples are of a high quality, and that we have accurate and complete records in our database. As soon as a batch of samples has been received, I make sure that they have been stored safely and register them in our inventory. I then coordinate with our lab staff to process the samples and put them through our quality control tests. Our lab technicians process the tissues and blood, extracting RNA and DNA and verifying their quality. Our pathologists then verify the quality of tissues using staining and immunohistochemistry. I register all of this quality control information into our database, including any clinical records associated with the samples.

All of our samples are made available to ovarian cancer researchers around the world. Research teams submit applications to us, describing the sub-types of ovarian cancer and the types of tissues and biological samples that they need and the purpose of their study. As project manager I work with these investigators in processing their requests and making sure they get the appropriate samples for their work. Every application is reviewed by a COEUR study committee, which approves the release of samples. I act as a liaison between the study committee and investigators, organizing meetings, preparing documents and monitoring the research progress.

Perhaps unlike project managers in other fields, my work is heavily involved in the scientific progress as well as the administrative aspects of the project. But like all projects, the administrative work is essential for the scientific work to run smoothly. This administrative side of my role involves preparing meetings, organizing workshops, collecting data from investigators and requesting official approval from our institution’s legal and ethical committees. I also collect a lot of documents: ethics approvals or material transfer agreements from the different biobanks, invoices, scientific reports, meeting minutes and scientific publications.

The COEUR project would not be possible without the collaboration of many teams and biobanks across Canada. It gives me great satisfaction to know that my role as project manager impacts not just the work of COEUR, but is also important to the success of many ovarian cancer research teams who make use of our samples both nationally and internationally.

Cécile LePage
Project Manager
TFRI Translational Program: Canadian Ovarian Experimental Unified Resource (COEUR)



More Information
For researchers interested in the COEUR project and looking for research samples, visit: www.tfri.ca/coeur

To learn more about the COEUR project visit the Our Work section.


Dr. Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Program Leader of the TFRI COEUR program, describes the research
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