President and Chairman’s Letter

Jack Rowe Gary Borisy
John W. Rowe Gary G. Borisy
Chair, MBL Board of Trustees MBL President and Director


2011 Top Highlights

  • Established the Center for Library and Informatics
  • Built capacity in the Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering and The National Xenopus Resource
  • Surpassed Catalyst Campaign goal of $125 million with $127.7 million raised as of December 21, 2011
  • Awarded $818,123 in scholarships to 282 highly qualified students
  • Broadened and deepened Brown-MBL Graduate Program; Grew enrollment from 12 to 20 students
  • Launched new version of the Encyclopedia of Life
  • Completed installation of 510-panel solar array at Technology Park

Discovery is a continual process and it is at the heart of everything we do at the MBL. We push the boundaries of science forward. We train the next generation of scientists. And we provide an environment where great minds can come together and do the work that will lead to the next breakthrough.

Building the physical and scientific infrastructure to support discovery is also a continual process. In 2011 our work was largely focused on the advancement of three groundbreaking events that occurred in 2010: the establishment of the Bell Center for Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering; the transformation and modernization of Loeb Laboratory; and the public launch of the historic Catalyst Campaign. These efforts, in concert with new initiatives and achievements, are helping to position the MBL as a leader in the life sciences for the 21st century.


In 2011 we continued to build capacity in the Bell Center. We recruited Marko Horb, a scientist whose foundational research explores the basic biology behind the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. Horb was also appointed Director of the National Xenopus Resource, which is now fully functional and stocked with frogs used by researchers who study disease, aging, and regenerative medicine.
Loeb Laboratory, home to the MBL’s discovery-based education program, continued to receive an enthusiastic reception from our faculty and students. After a full year of “sea trials” and fine-tuning, it is clear that the renovations we made in 2010 are providing our discovery courses with the physical and technical infrastructure they need for cutting-edge research training.

In 2011 we offered more courses and welcomed more students from more institutions than ever before. The Brown-MBL Graduate Program also experienced growth, with enrollment nearly doubling and new funding supporting student tuition costs, development of joint courses, and technical upgrades to expand communications between the two institutions.

Other 2011 accomplishments included the creation of The Center for Library and Informatics, which consolidated 12 existing MBL informatics initiatives, including the MBLWHOI Library and Encyclopedia of Life, into a centralized research group. And, as part of our ongoing efforts to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce energy costs, we installed 510 solar panels—one of Falmouth’s largest renewable energy projects—on the roof of our property at Technology Park.
We also made excellent progress on the MBL Catalyst Campaign, which had raised a cumulative total of $127.7 million by year’s end, surpassing the $125 million goal we set five years ago to raise endowment and program support for the MBL’s research and education programs. Thanks to our generous donors, we have met our goals for program support and facilities improvements. However, many of the endowment sub-goals of the Campaign remain underfunded. Raising current use funds and unrestricted endowment is our fundraising priority in 2012, the campaign’s final year.


Containing operating costs and increasing revenue continued to be major concerns in 2011. To the credit of our investigators, we met our goal of maintaining federally funded research at the 2010 level. We also received a $3.2 million grant renewal from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for our summer courses. But the economy forced many foundations to make fewer or reduced grants and the competition for science support in both the private and public sector was fierce.


Thanks to the success of the Catalyst Campaign and other recent initiatives, we have made infrastructure repairs to our campus that have long been deferred and we are continuing to advance our programmatic goals in new and exciting ways.

Nevertheless, we must recognize that these are challenging economic times for everyone, and the MBL is not immune to financial uncertainties. Federal and foundation support for research and education is becoming increasingly competitive, just at the time that the MBL’s debt service, a reflection of our major infrastructure upgrades, is rising. With the campaign coming to a close in 2012, we must realign our operations to ensure that we live within our means and assure our sustained financial health. Accordingly, we are engaged in the hard work of analyzing our current business model and planning for our long-term financial success.

We are fortunate to have the support of a strong and experienced board as well as a devoted community of corporation members, overseers, associates, donors, scientists, and staff. Their investment of time, talent, energy, and resources is what keeps the MBL on the forefront of discovery, assures our continued financial well-being, and will sustain us well into the future.