Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
|Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory|
|Location||1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY|
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Historic District
|Location||Jct. of NY 25A and Bungtown Rd., Laurel Hollow, New York|
|Area||100 acres (40 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||94000198|
|Added to NRHP||March 30, 1994|
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, non-profit institution with research programs focusing on cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. The Laboratory has a broad educational mission, including the Watson School of Biological Sciences (founded in 1998). It currently employs over 400 scientists. Eight Nobel laureates have worked at the laboratory.
CSHL is one of sixty-three institutions supported by the Cancer Centers Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has been a NCI-designated cancer center since 1987.
The laboratory began its history in 1890 as an extension of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences; in 1904, the Carnegie Institution of Washington established the Station for Experimental Evolution at Cold Spring Harbor on the site. In 1921, the station was reorganized as the Carnegie Institution Department of Genetics.
Between 1910 and 1940, the laboratory was the base of the Eugenics Record Office of biologist Charles B. Davenport and his assistant Harry H. Laughlin, two prominent American eugenicists of the period. In 1935 the Carnegie Institution sent a team to review their work, and as a result the ERO was ordered to stop all work. In 1939 the Institute withdrew funding for the ERO entirely, leading to its closure. Their reports, articles, charts, and pedigrees were considered scientific "facts" in their day, but have since been discredited. However, this closure came 15 years after its findings were incorporated into the National Origins Act (Immigration Act of 1924), which severely reduced the number of immigrants to America from southern and eastern Europe who, Harry Laughlin testified, were racially inferior to the Nordic immigrants from England and Germany. Charles Davenport was also the founder and the first director of the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations in 1925.
The Carnegie Institution Department of Genetics scientists at Cold Spring Harbor made many important contributions to the sciences of genetics, medicine, and the then-infant science of molecular biology. In 1962 its facilities merged with those of The Brooklyn Institute's Biological Laboratory to create what is known today as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
In 1944 Barbara McClintock discovered transposons ("jumping genes"), for which she received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 1952 the experiments of Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase at the laboratory confirmed DNA as the genetic material. The laboratory is also known for the work of Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria on phage and molecular genetics. Another CSHL scientist Richard J. Roberts received a Nobel prize for the co-discovery of introns and RNA splicing.
Nobel laureate James D. Watson (who co-discovered the double helix structure of DNA with Francis Crick and first presented it at the CSHL symposium on viruses) served as the Laboratory's Director and President for 35 years, until the Board of Trustees at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory suspended Watson's administrative responsibilities due to controversial remarks he made to The Times in 2007. He focused the lab on cancer research in part by creating a tumor virus group that continues its research up to today. Since 1987 CSHL is a NCI-designated cancer center. Plants genetics research at the Laboratory was reinvigorated in the 1980s. In 1990, the program of neuroscience research at CSHL was significantly expanded with the completion of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratory. With the construction of several new laboratory buildings on the hillside campus in 2009, CSHL created a new program on quantitative biology to bring the best minds in mathematics, computer science, statistics, and physics to problems in biology.
Since 1994 cancer biologist Bruce Stillman leads the laboratory, serving as President from 2003. Stillman is member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. In October 2007 Watson retired as Chancellor under pressure as a result of controversial remarks about race made to The Sunday Times in the U.K.
Meetings and courses
Aside from its research mission, the laboratory is host to world-class scientific conferences on a variety of topics. The first annual Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposium on Quantitative Biology was held in 1934. The symposium in 1960, Biological Clocks, was arguably the founding moment of the field of chronobiology. Now in addition to the Symposium over 24 meetings are held annually, for between 200 and 500 scientists. At the Banbury Center discussion-style meetings are held for a maximum of 36 invited participants. These elite meetings cover often controversial topics in molecular biology and neuroscience.
Salvador Luria and Max Delbrück founded the Phage Course in 1948, a course that trained many of the leaders of the new field of molecular genetics. The courses proliferated under Watson's guidance and each year some 28 advanced courses are held for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who travel to CSHL from throughout the world.
The laboratory also offers programs for students in high school and college in biotechnology and biology. The lab is particularly well known for its contributions towards the training of young scientists, notably through the establishment of its Undergraduate Research Program in 1959, its Dolan DNA Learning Center in 1988, and the founding of the Watson School of Biological Sciences in 1998. Since 1990 Partners for the Future allows seniors from high schools throughout Long Island to conduct original research with the aid of a scientist mentor.
Notes and references
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory History / CSHL web site". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Research History / CSHL web site". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe (October 14, 2007). "The elementary DNA of Dr Watson". The Times. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "James Watson retires amidst race controversy". New Scientist. 25 October 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "Dr. James D. Watson Retires as Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory" (Press release). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. October 25, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "National Science Foundation Awards $50 Million for Collaborative Plant Biology Project to Tackle Greater Science Questions". News release (National Science Foundation). January 30, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
- Haseltine, Mara G. (2013). "Waltz of the Polypeptides". Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- Official website
- Dolan DNA Learning Center
- Eugenics Archive
- CSHL URP site
- Watson School of Biological Sciences
- CSHL Meetings and Courses site
- Banbury Center site
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Digital Collections Database
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Oral History Collection
- Partners for the Future
- James D. Watson Collection at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library & Archives