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Strange bedfellows, great science

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2017 - Autumn


Yale researchers cross scientific boundaries to advance biomedical knowledge

A decade ago, when Yale purchased what is now known as West Campus from Bayer, the plan was to focus on cutting-edge science. The 450,000 square feet of lab space would be not spillover space, but a place that would foster a fresh approach to raise the visibility of science at Yale.

Now West Campus is home to no fewer than seven institutes covering cancer, nanobiology, microbial sciences, and more. “Our true aim,” says Scott A. Strobel, Ph.D., the vice president for West Campus planning and program development, “is for true convergence in research.”

To that end, West Campus is geared for research that crosses traditional boundaries. Biologists and chemists work with the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage to find ways to preserve ancient texts and scrolls. A molecular biologist and synthetic biologist team up to synthesize a type of protein. Nursing students learn about medicinal plants on an urban farm. Labs are located alongside labs in different fields—the hope is for interesting water cooler conversations. There’s only one cafeteria for a reason—to encourage cross-disciplinary gatherings and conversations.

But interdisciplinary research has been going on for as long as physicians have turned to geneticists, biologists, and chemists for insights into the workings of the human body. And such research continues across the Yale campus. Radiologists work with biomedical engineers to tweak DNA and treat disease. Biomedical engineers work with dermatologists to develop a safer sunscreen.

In this issue of Yale Medicine, we celebrate science that stretches interdisciplinary boundaries throughout Yale and at West Campus as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

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