August 30, 2014

Senator Elizabeth Warren Visits the MBL

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) toured the MBL on August 2, accompanied by MBL President and Director Joan Ruderman, University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer, Argonne National Laboratory Director Eric Isaacs, and other members of the institutions’ leadership teams.

The MBL’s recent affiliation with the University of Chicago, Senator Warren said, “is a great partnership; great for Massachusetts and for [the MBL].” Her visit, she said, was a “reminder of why we are investing in research … Woods Hole is the place the world is looking to for the best research and latest ideas.”

MBL President and Director Joan Ruderman, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein of University of Washington, co-director of the Molecular Biology of Aging course. Credit: Beth Armstrong

MBL President and Director Joan Ruderman, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein of University of Washington, co-director of the Molecular Biology of Aging course. Credit: Beth Armstrong

Senator Warren visited Loeb Laboratory and stopped in the Molecular Biology of Aging course, where students learn state-of-the-art techniques for studying the genetic and molecular mechanisms of aging. She then toured the MBL Ecosystems Center, where Center Director Chris Neill and Distinguished Scientist Jerry Melillo briefed her on environmental and global change research. Melillo discussed the comprehensive effort by the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment team, which he chairs, to identify climate change impacts and adaptations in our region and across the United States.

Neill described the MBL’s historic role in identifying the damaging consequences of nitrogen runoff to coastal waters, and how the Ecosystems Center has moved beyond the science of identifying coastal nitrogen pollution toward rigorous evaluation of innovative, potential ways to prevent it. He also discussed the Center’s partnership with the Buzzards Bay Coalition to monitor local water quality; and the susceptibility of salt marshes to nitrogen pollution and their vital role as buffers against sea level rise and coastal storms.

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MBL Ecosystems Center Director Chris Neill (left) and Distinguished Scientist Jerry Mellilo with Senator Warren. Credit: Beth Armstrong

The tour concluded with a visit to the MBL’s Marine Resources Department, where manager David Remsen showed Senator Warren several examples of marine organisms that are used for biomedical research.