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Waltz of the Polypeptides Joins CSHL's Art of Science Collection

06_waltz Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) welcomes the arrival of Waltz of the Polypeptides, a sculpture that dramatically brings the worlds of art and science together in a way that both scientists and the public can enjoy.

Created by New York City-based artist Mara G. Haseltine, the eighty foot long, ten foot high sculpture depicts a subcellular protein factory called a ribosome caught in the act of producing the BLyS protein, which stimulates the production of infection-fighting antibodies in the body.

“I am delighted that Waltz of the Polypeptides has such a distinguished home,” said Haseltine, whose works incorporate her interest in natural sciences, psychology, and the environment. “Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is the birthplace of much of modern biology. Scientists there have laid the foundation for a lot of what we know about individual genes, the genetic code, and how the information stored in the genome is used to make the proteins of life.”

The new artwork adds to CSHL’s rich collection of paintings and sculptures on its 117 acre campus. The Laboratory has long endorsed the idea, championed by Chancellor and Nobel Laureate, Dr. James D. Watson, that scientists surrounded by creativity in art and culture will be more creative in their science.

Says Dr. Bruce Stillman, president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, “The art on campus inspires our 400 resident scientists and the more than 8,000 researchers that visit CSHL each year to push the boundaries of molecular biology and genetics, relieve human suffering, and improve the quality of life for generations to come.”

The sculpture is comprised of seven structures, each of which is derived from that of the actual biological forms, observed using scanning electron microscopy, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography.

The complete work rests in a carefully landscaped setting that is an integral part of the work. It occupies a prominent site on the CSHL campus, adjacent to Dolan Hall, a residence center for visiting scientists, and the Beckman research building.

The arrival of the Haseltine work coincides with the announcement of CSHL’s $200 million capital and endowment campaign to speed the translation of genetic discoveries into diagnostics and therapeutic treatments. Investments in the development of young scientific minds and new technologies will continue to propel CSHL scientists to discoveries in cancer, neuroscience, and human genetics.

Donated by Human Genome Sciences Inc. -- a biotechnology company founded by the artist’s father, William Haseltine -- Waltz of the Polypeptides enables viewers to tour the birth of a single protein. More about Waltz of the Polypeptides and other works by this artist is at

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, 501(c)3-designated non-profit institution dedicated to research and education that advances the understanding and application of molecular biology and genetics. CSHL research areas include cancer, neuroscience, plant biology, and bioinformatics. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is one of the top rated National Cancer Institute-designated basic cancer research centers in the U.S. and is ranked 10th of 4000 charities for fiscal responsibility by Charity Navigator.

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