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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 18, 2008

Angus McQuilken, MLSC, 617-921-7749, amcquilken@masslifesciences.com
Gina Hebert, MBL, 508-289-7725, ghebert@mbl.edu

Press conference of November 17, 2008

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Board Approves $10 Million Grant for Marine Biological Laboratory
State Funding Commitment in Life Sciences Act Helps Leverage $15 Million Private Investment from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Photo Credit: Tom Kleindinst

For additional photos and video, click here.

BOSTON, MA—The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Board of Directors today approved a $10 million grant for infrastructure improvements at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole. Yesterday, MLSC President & CEO Susan Windham-Bannister joined Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, MBL Director and CEO Gary Borisy and other local officials to announce that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded $15 million to fund top-to-bottom renovations to the MBL’s Loeb Laboratory, the cornerstone of its world-famous life science training programs. The private grant was leveraged through the $10 million commitment of state funds contained in the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act that was released by the MLSC Board of Directors today.

The three-story Loeb Laboratory houses the MBL’s intensive, full-immersion graduate and postdoctoral-level laboratory courses. The full renovation project will total $25 million.

“The MBL's discovery courses transform scientists into leaders of the next generation,” said Gary Borisy, MBL director and chief executive officer. “Through the combined investment in the MBL by the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center—made possible by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act—and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, this project has become a reality. We are deeply grateful to Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Robert O’Leary, and the entire Cape Cod delegation for their support of our efforts and look forward over the coming years to implementing and transforming the Loeb Laboratory into a cutting edge facility worthy of the students who train within it.”

The Life Sciences Act was designed to both create jobs, and support life-saving research, and I am delighted to see part of this important funding put to use with the vital research being done at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, ” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This is a terrific example of leveraging private investment in economic development through the targeted use of public resources.”

Gary G. Borisy, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the MBL shows floorplans of the proposed renovations to Governor Patrick. Photo Credit: Tom Kleindinst

“The renovation of the Loeb Laboratory Building at the Marine Biological Laboratory is an important factor in elevating Massachusetts’ status in the life sciences industry, and I am pleased that the Life Sciences Center Board approved the funding set aside by the Commonwealth for this project. We have seen that the power of an investment like this is a catalyst for further development,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “The renovation of the Loeb Laboratory will bring construction jobs, and attract even more scientists and students, which is good for MBL, Woods Hole and the Massachusetts economy.”

“The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is pleased to be partnering with MBL on this very important project,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “As we implement the provisions of the Life Sciences Act, we are looking to make investments that promote both economic development and good science. Research conducted at MBL has had an enormous impact in creating positive medical outcomes for people, as demonstrated by the 56 scientists affiliated with MBL that have received the Nobel Prize since MBL’s founding in 1888, including this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry. MBL plays a key role in our state’s life sciences community, and we look forward to working with MBL and their regional partners, including UMass Dartmouth and the Regional Technology Development Council, as this project comes to fruition.”

The MBL is a premier training ground for tomorrow’s leaders in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences. Each year the MBL trains more than 450 students, including 200 international students, as part of its education programs, which include more than 20 graduate and post-graduate laboratory courses. MBL alumni and faculty rank among the most innovative and successful scientists of our time.

Massachusetts is home to one of the world's top life sciences clusters, with a high concentration of academic medical centers, researchers, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies in close proximity. Yet despite the region’s strength, nine out of 10 employers in life sciences-related fields are having difficulty hiring enough staff to conduct clinical research, and 75 percent reported having problems locating staff with engineering and life science regulatory experience, according to a report released earlier this year by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Mass Biotech and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Renovation of the Loeb Laboratory will enable the MBL to enhance Massachusetts’ life sciences training by improving its premiere educational training programs and preparing students and workers for jobs in the life sciences sector.

“I’ve worked with five Governors and this is the first one who ‘gets it’ regarding the importance of the Woods Hole life sciences institutions, and he has put the Commonwealth into the mix as a partner in this important work,” said Representative Eric Turkington. “He and the leadership of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center understand that the work of these institutions is not only important for Woods Hole and Falmouth, but for the whole Commonwealth, the whole country, and the entire world.”

“Encouraging the innovative genius of the Woods Hole institutions is one of the keys to the future,” said Representative Matt Patrick. “I'm very proud to have played a role in bringing the MBL's story to the State House.”

The MBL has chosen two Massachusetts-based companies to work on the project. Tsoi/Kobus & Associates of Cambridge are serving as architects of the renovation while construction managers are Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston. Both firms worked very successfully with the MBL in the past, most recently to renovate its Rowe Laboratory in 2006-2007. The design phase of the Loeb project has begun and preliminary construction is scheduled to begin in March 2009. The completion date will be June 2010. It is expected that at the peak of the project, more than 200 tradespeople will be working on the renovation.

Loeb Laboratory was built in 1970 and is named after Jacques Loeb, a prominent physiologist in the early 20th century and founder of the MBL’s Physiology course. In addition to Physiology, Loeb Laboratory is home to the MBL’s Embryology, Neurobiology, Frontiers in Reproduction, and Frontiers in Human Embryonic Stem Cells training courses, among others.


The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MLSC was established to promote the life sciences within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is tasked with investing in life sciences research and economic development. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions growing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information visit www.masslifesciences.com

The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu