The Biodesign Institute

Yale University, West Campus. Photo courtesy of Lisa Maloney, Yale West Campus Operations Manager.

In the three years since Yale’s acquisition of West Campus, a 136-acre development seven miles from downtown New Haven, the plans of its founders are beginning to fall into place. The West Campus is now beginning to host a community, rather than mere buildings. The Institutes of Systems Biology, Chemical Biology, and Microbial Diversity all have faculty members, such as recent Chemistry Department hire, Professor Jonathan Ellman, already conducting research in their respective labs. Each institute will enable new and current faculty members from a diverse range of departments to collaborate in ways unachievable with the divided infrastructure of the Main Campus. Professor Scott Strobel, Vice President of West Campus Planning and Program Development, emphasizes the importance of putting different science and engineering fields side by side: “The best science happens at those boundaries.”

The newest addition to West Campus is the Biodesign Institute, whose mission is “to discover the systems and design principles uniting living and synthetic materials at the nano-scale.” The Institute’s director, Dr. James Rothman, envisions a place with no divisions between the disciplines. This idea is reflected in the plans for the upcoming physical renovation. The revamp will open up the laboratory environment to allow for a more collaborative climate for biologists and engineers alike. With West Campus as a home base, the new Life Science Institutes will reinvent Yale’s role in the scientific research world.