The Koch Institute aims to cure cancer, but the journey can often seem like a maze with many entrances and corridors filled with intimidating technologies. "The Swanson Biotechnology Center's purpose is to usher everyone through the maze," explains Jacqueline Lees, PhD, Associate Director of the Koch Institute and Professor of Biology. "You don't have to learn a whole new skill set at every door because SBC scientific team leaders help you and show you where to go next."
These experts respond, guide, direct, mentor, teach, help design experiments, collaborate, connect people with other researchers and biotechnology labs, and generally provide a public service to the cancer research community. They ask: What does the community need, and how can I enable that?
"The SBC teams help researchers turn ideas into a real scientific experiments and then expand upon the studies," says Sarah Farrington who as the SBC facilities administrator promotes these interactions among researchers and the SBC. "Also, knowing these resources exist, graduate students no longer wander the halls looking for someone who might let them use a key instrument." The SBC provides access to a dizzying array of cutting-edge technologies.
These shared labs disseminate new knowledge quickly throughout the institute, making the SBC much more than the sum of its parts. "A technique developed to solve my problem can help other researchers with other applications," says Lees. "I used to hear 'Oh, if only I'd known you wanted to do that' after spending months developing a technique. Now our intellectual collaborations feed back into SBC's central hub, and that speeds discovery because no one wastes time reinventing wheels."
Posted July 19, 2012