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For Immediate Release: July 23, 2010
Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

MBL Launches $125 Million Fundraising Campaign to Accelerate Life Sciences Research and Education
MBL establishes Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering with leadership gifts from Millicent Bell and John W. and Valerie Rowe




From (L) to (R): John Rowe, Valerie Rowe, Millicent Bell, and Gary Borisy. Click for larger image.

SpisulaMBL trustee and Catalyst Campaign Chairman Jeffrey Pierce. Click for larger image.

WOODS HOLE, MA—The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) announced today the public launch of a $125 million fundraising campaign to increase the pace of discoveries in the life sciences. The effort, called MBL Catalyst Campaign: The Science of Life Accelerated, is the largest campaign in MBL history.

The laboratory also outlined plans to establish the Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering, a key campaign initiative supported by leadership gifts of $8 million from Millicent Bell and $5 million from MBL board chair John W. Rowe and his wife Valerie.

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of the Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering,” said MBL director and CEO Gary Borisy. “Eugene Bell was a pioneer in the field of regeneration and tissue engineering and a valued member of the MBL scientific community. He and Millicent have been part of the fabric of the MBL and Woods Hole for many, many years. Gene was a groundbreaking scientist who conducted research at the MBL, served as a member of our Board of Trustees, and taught in our Embryology course. We are enormously grateful for the generosity of Millicent Bell and Jack and Valerie Rowe, whose leadership gifts have enabled the establishment of this exciting new research effort at the MBL.”

Eugene Bell was also a pioneer in translating basic research in regenerative biology into practical medical applications. He founded two of the earliest regenerative medicine technology companies in Massachusetts, Organogenesis, Inc., of Canton, and Boston-based TEI Biosciences, Inc. Dr. Bell passed away in 2007.

“Gene was passionate about science and passionate about the MBL,” said Millicent Bell. “I am so pleased to be able to honor my husband and his many contributions to science in this way. The MBL is a special place, and I am truly delighted to partner with the Rowe family to launch the Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering at the MBL.”

“This is an exciting and very important day in the life of the MBL,” said MBL trustee and campaign chair Jeffrey Pierce. “Cutting the ribbon on our newly renovated Loeb Laboratory and announcing the leadership investments of the Bell and Rowe families in the MBL is a terrific way to launch a fundraising campaign that has the power to transform the MBL and accelerate advances in the life sciences.”

For more than 120 years the MBL has been a catalyst for research and scientific careers in fields including embryology, neuroscience, cell biology and imaging, and long-term ecological science. The Catalyst Campaign will ensure that the MBL continues its role as a leader in biological discovery.

Campaign goals include providing program and endowment support for: training future scientists; for promoting collaborative research that enables scientists from around the world to unravel key questions about life; for research programs focused on the environment and human well-being and on regenerative medicine and tissue engineering; and for capital projects and the Annual Fund.

Pierce noted that during the quiet phase of the Catalyst Campaign the MBL has achieved more than $100 million toward its $125 million goal. “We are grateful to everyone who has given generously to the MBL Catalyst Campaign so far,” he said. “We are fortunate to have donors who understand the MBL’s potential to accelerate scientific progress both locally and globally, and we look forward to continued fundraising success now that the campaign is public.”

MBL leaders announced the public phase of the Catalyst Campaign, which will run through 2012, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently renovated Loeb Laboratory. Loeb is the cornerstone of the MBL’s discovery courses and its renovation was a key funding objective of the campaign’s quiet phase. With this leading-edge facility in place and new programs that will be supported by campaign funding, the MBL is poised to facilitate new learning in the life sciences.

“The avenues available to the MBL for accelerating the pace of discovery are astounding,” said Gary Borisy. “MBL scientists are increasing their understanding of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, ecosystems science, the microbial world and its impacts on Earth and human health, and biodiversity and the risk of species loss. The world needs inspired ideas, reliable evidence, and confident well-prepared scientists. In order to achieve its full potential to meet these challenges, the MBL must substantially increase its resources.”

“Valerie and I are pleased to support the MBL’s Catalyst Campaign,” said John W. Rowe. “The past three decades have seen a surge of achievements in the life sciences as new research tools have emerged at a rapid pace. With the availability of powerful tools for the study of life and the promise of enhanced laboratory facilities and research programs, MBL scientists can answer biological and environmental questions that were unimaginable before. The campaign is perfectly timed to support MBL science at this critical juncture.”


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 Americas.