IPSWICH, Mass. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Recognizing that tomorrow’s innovation relies on exposing the next generation to why science matters today, New England Biolabs® (NEB®) has become the primary sponsor of the LabCentral Learning Lab. LabCentral, Greater Boston’s premier co-working laboratory and launchpad for high-potential life-sciences startups, opened the new community-oriented STEM facility in the fall of 2017 as part of its major expansion in its historic Kendall Square, Cambridge location. The Learning Lab comprises 1,270 square feet of laboratory and adjoining classroom space.
The goal of the LabCentral Learning Lab is to work with academic and community partners to create a new kind of educational experience near the heart of innovation in Kendall Square. This lab will serve as a community hub, forging lasting connections, and inspiring tomorrow’s innovators. At scale, programming will advance thousands of students and teachers into the future of science.
“NEB and LabCentral share a common vision for enabling research and business development through mentorship, and have been working together over the last four years to make this vision a reality,” explained Executive Director of Marketing at NEB, Andy Bertera. “We are thrilled to be a part of this next key phase of LabCentral’s evolution and support STEM learning.”
“A key supporter of LabCentral’s from the beginning, NEB was an obvious partner as we looked to reach out and inspire our neighbors in the local Kendall Square community, many of whom have been left out while the biotech industry grows up all around them,” said LabCentral President Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D. “We are grateful for NEB’s generous support for the LabCentral Learning Lab, as we extend our mission to better serve the next generation of science innovators and entrepreneurs.”
The facility has also become the new home of BioBuilder, a STEM education program that capitalizes on the excitement found through experiential learning. What started in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT with a handful of local high school teachers receiving training modules in synthetic biology has grown into a recognized name in the field of STEM education worldwide. The BioBuilder curriculum is now taught in almost every state in the U.S. and in more than 30 countries around the world. BioBuilder has also been an active collaborator, working closely with the LabCentral team as it developed the concept for the Learning Lab. NEB and LabCentral are looking forward to hosting many of the BioBuilder core programs, as well as other STEM programs and community groups in this exciting new space.
“Having dedicated lab space will enable a full calendar of expanded programming, including year-round teacher workshops, and a flexible schedule for class field trips and afterschool clubs,” commented BioBuilder’s Executive Director Natalie Kuldell, Ph.D. “We’re particularly excited to expand our BioBuilder Apprenticeship Challenge, which opens a direct path from the classroom to the workforce for economically disadvantaged students in metro Boston.”
Since its inception in late 2013, LabCentral has worked with its academic and industry partners, such as the Whitehead Institute and others, to help bridge the divide between “the old Cambridge” and “new biotech” by involving local residents, community nonprofits, and arts organizations in LabCentral’s network programming and events. The Learning Lab will help further that goal, offering neighborhood kids a chance to interact regularly with some of the world’s most-promising bioentrepreneurs and learn what it takes to turn science ideas into products that might save people’s lives.
“We’re always excited to partner with LabCentral through our education programs,” said Amy Tremblay, Whitehead Institute’s public programs manager. “Together, we have introduced students to scientific research and exposed them to myriad ways they can pursue careers in science. The addition of the Learning Lab will enable organizations, like Whitehead, to provide robust hands-on science experiences, engage and serve our neighbors from the local community, and inspire the next generation of scientists.”
About New England Biolabs
Established in the mid 1970’s, New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics development. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and seven subsidiaries located in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs visit www.neb.com.
About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory workspace in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. We offer everything young companies need to begin lab operations immediately upon move-in and propel their science forward faster and more cost-efficiently. This includes: beautifully designed, fully permitted lab and office space, first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, peer learning and networking opportunities, an expert speaker series — as well as critical access to potential funders and industry partners. A private, nonprofit institution, our first site opened in 2013, with support from our real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Roche, and Triumvirate Environmental. To accommodate demand for growing startups, we expanded our original site to double the original size in the fall of 2017, and, with support from Pfizer, opened LabCentral 610 at the end of the year. We now have capacity to serve a total of ~450 scientists and entrepreneurs in about 70 companies across our two-building campus. In 2017, we also added the LabCentral Learning Lab for STEM programming to help inspire the next generation of science entrepreneurs.