Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a research and educational institution, consisting of science laboratories located in Cold Spring Harbor, New York on Long Island, USA. The Laboratory has research programs focusing on cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, and has a broad educational mission, including the recently established Watson School of Biological Sciences. In its history, a total of 85 Nobel laureates have been associated with the lab.

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.

The Carnegie Institution Department of Genetics scientists at Cold Spring Harbor made innumerable contributions to the sciences of genetics, medicine, and the then-infant science of molecular biology, and 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.

Guest cabins at CSHL in winter.

In 1944 Barbara McClintock discovered at CSHL transposons ("jumping genes"), for which she received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. One well-known aspect of the Laboratory is its hosting of the experiments of Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase, and the work of Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria. Another Nobel laureate scientist there was Richard J. Roberts. Nobel laureate James D. Watson (who co-discovered the double helix structure of DNA with Francis Crick) served as the Laboratory's Director and President for 35 years, and remains today as its Chancellor. Currently, cancer biologist Bruce Stillman serves as laboratory President.

Aside from its scientific mission, the laboratory is host to world-class scientific conferences on a variety of topics. The first of the annual Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposium on Quantitative Biology was held in 1934. Now, over 24 meetings, in addition to the Symposium, for between 200 and 500 scientists, are held annually. The Banbury Center is a small conference center that holds discussion-style meetings for only 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 many 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.

During the years 1910 to 1940, the laboratory was also the home 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 efforts. 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.

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