The Convening Power of MBL

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Since its founding in 1888, a singular feature of the MBL has been our convening power, attracting the world’s most accomplished scientists to Woods Hole to carry out some of their most creative and far-reaching work. Each year, well over 500 scientists and faculty can be found at the MBL, participating in and leading our research and educational programs – some based at MBL full-time in our Division of Research, some joining the Whitman Center in the summer months, others coming to the MBL to perform research in MBL facilities such as the Marine Resource Center at times throughout the year, and yet others leading or lecturing in our broad range of research-based MBL courses.

Research and education at the MBL – carried out by MBL resident scientists as well as hundreds of the world’s leading scientists who are attracted to the MBL’s distinctive resources and strengths each year – focus on fundamental biological discovery to explore the origins, diversity, and nature of life on a changing planet and to inform the human condition. Fueled by our convening power, scientists at the MBL focus strategically in a number of areas, including:

  • new discoveries emerging from the study of novel marine organisms, encompassing research in regenerative biology, neuroscience, sensory physiology, and comparative evolution and genomics;
  • the study of microbiomes and microbial diversity and ecology in a variety of ocean and terrestrial habitats;
  • cutting-edge imaging and computation, illuminating cellular function and previously unknown biology; and
  • organismal adaptation and resilience in the face of global change and rapidly changing ecosystems.
Ron Vale

“Scientists have different philosophies of why they come to the MBL. Mine is to do experiments that aren’t necessarily in the game plan in my home lab, to do something new. The spirit of MBL is to try things, to be willing to be adventurous, take risks, even if they don’t work out.”
– Ron Vale, Whitman Center Scientist from HHMI/University of California, San Francisco

Clare Waterman

“There is no better place to do this research than here. It’s perfect.”
– Clare Waterman, Whitman Center Scientist from National Institutes of Health