Research and Education at the Worcester Foundation

Foteos Macrides MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET
Tue Dec 17 10:50:00 EST 1991


The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology was founded in 1944 by Drs.
Hudson Hoagland and Gregory Pincus, It is now a non-departmental, independent,
non-profit, biomedical research and educational institute. The Foundation's
mission is basic research and education focused on those aspects of normal
biology which fall under the rubric of cell biology, developmental biology,
reproductive biology, and neurobiology. Progress in these research areas is
fostered by the unique style and setting of the Foundation where there are no
departmental boundaries, either intellectual or physical, where the
laboratories of its 30 faculty level scientists are in several buildings, all
set on a bucolic 120 acre wooded campus just 45 minutes west of Boston. In
addition to the thirty full-time faculty members, a professional staff of more
than 100 Ph.D. level scientists and approximately 100 additional support staff
participate in investigations of basic issues in biology. The Foundation's
faculty are fully engaged, year round, in scientific research and education.
In addition to the many collaborative interactions which exist among faculty
and staff within the Foundation, the faculty, as a whole, sustains a web of
collaborative interactions with an additional 55 colleagues in other
institutions both here and abroad. In the last 5 years the Foundation's full-
time faculty have published more than 400 research articles in peer reviewed
journals and in the last year alone, have filed or received 11 science related
patents.

Although the Worcester Foundation enjoys an international reputation as a
leader in biological research, its capabilities as an academic institution are
less well known. Just as research is indispensable to science education in the
University, teaching and training are ongoing features of the daily research
activities at the Foundation. The charter of the Worcester Foundation, as
amended and approved by the Board of Education of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts in 1965, authorizes the institution to carry on educational
programs and includes the power to grant the earned degree of Doctor of
Science in the biological and related sciences. The Foundation belongs to the
Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium whose members include nearly all of
the degree granting educational institutions in the Commonwealth. It has also
been granted tax exemption as a non-profit educational organization by the
U.S. Treasury Department.  The educational efforts of the Foundation now
include 4 components. 1) The Foundation sponsors a Science Mentor program for
local high schools in which Foundation scientists seek to expand student
interest in science through personal contact and student research projects. 2)
We have long sponsored a Summer Training Program in which 12-15 motivated
college students receive an in-depth exposure to scientific research over a
ten-week period each summer. Last year we were fortunate to win additional
funding for this program from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Program at NSF. 3) Since 1975, the Worcester Foundation, Clark University, the
University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Worcester Polytechnic
Institute have jointly sponsored a Ph.D. program in the biological sciences.
Students are accepted into the program by the admissions criteria of the
respective graduate school, complete their course work at that institution,
and then embark on their Ph.D. thesis research project in the laboratories of
Worcester Foundation faculty members.  During the 1990-91 academic year 11
graduate students were engaged in research in Foundation laboratories. 4)
Since its founding the Worcester Foundation has trained more than 1000
postdoctoral fellows from over 60 countries. Currently there are 70-75
postdoctoral fellows receiving additional training by working in the
laboratories of the Worcester Foundation. After 2-4 years of training their
evolving career objectives lead them to a variety of universities and medical
schools where they usually combine teaching and research.

Each faculty-level scientist holds research grants from NIH, NSF, or other
agencies. The institution also seeks, and receives, funds from numerous
private foundations for support of our work, and we enjoy the enlightened
support of hundreds of individual donors here in New England and all over the
world. The Foundation has a very small endowment, which also provides further
support for our research efforts. Collectively these sources account for an
annual expenditure of approximately $12.5 million on various research projects
of which more than $11 million are derived from research awards to faculty
members.

Major research facilities include core laboratories for oligonucleotide
synthesis, protein sequencing and peptide synthesis, electron microscopy,
nuclear magnetic resonance and the preparation of bulk cell culture medium and
other standard reagents. The Foundation also has a comprehensive library and
relatively modern computer facilities. The Foundation has recently embarked on
several major fund raising efforts in order to enhance its small endowment and
to provide the fiscal climate conducive to the planning and construction of a
new research building with space sufficient for 13 new laboratories.



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