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Historic lab at CSHL transformed for future cancer research

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y., Oct. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- After two years of extensive renovation and with generous support from New York State, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's historic Demerec laboratory is reborn as a state-of-the-art research facility. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cut the ribbon for the building's reopening Wednesday, celebrating how the state will benefit from this new chapter in CSHL research.

(l to r) Laurel Hollow Mayor Daniel DeVita, Pres. of Long Island Association Kevin Law, Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, Pres. of Empire State Development Eric Gertler, Commissioner of Health for N.Y. State Dr. Howard Zucker, CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, CSHL Honorary Trustee Jim Simons, CSHL Chair of the Board Marilyn Simons, Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran, N.Y. State Assemblymen Chuck Lavine & Steve Stern, N.Y. Senator Jim Gaughran, and CSHL COO John Tuke

"It's good for the economy, but also [this is research] that I believe will improve the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people. I believe this work will save lives," Governor Cuomo said during his visit. "That is the work that the people in this facility are dedicated to. And the state is honored to be playing a small role today."

The Demerec laboratory, home to four Nobel laureates, has played an important role in the history of genetics research. Its new research will focus, among other things, on taking a more holistic approach to treating cancer and the disease's impact on the entire body. 

To prepare the Demerec building for 21st century science, it had to be gutted, with extensive renovations of the basement and interior, while leaving the historic 1950s brutalist exterior largely unchanged.

While the Demerec building's faculty hasn't been finalized, the researchers will be working alongside the rest of the CSHL community—including 600 scientists, students, and technicians—to create a distinctly collaborative and cross-disciplinary culture. 

Governor Cuomo called the Demerec building and the larger CSHL campus "hallowed ground for scientific research," after dedicating $25 million in 2017 towards the $75 million renovation. He's confident the space and its scientists will deliver a new wave of scientific progress.

"We invested over $620 million statewide in life sciences with $250 million in Long Island alone in biotech. Why? Because we believe that is an economic cluster that is going to grow and that is going to create jobs and it already is," the governor said. "I believe Long Island is going to be the next Research Triangle."

Renovating a single research facility may seem like a small step towards the state's goal, but this particular building has made Long Island a scientific hotspot once before.

"While the Demerec building is comparatively smaller than larger projects that the governor has initiated… it is arguably one the most productive buildings in all of science," said CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman. "This renovation allows us to really think about where the Lab will take things next. It will have, I hope, a global impact on the research community, especially in the biomedical sciences."

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu.

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