A Tradition of Excellence
Since its inception in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has been a leading center worldwide for research and education. Its Dolan DNA Learning Center, established in 1988, educates primary and secondary school students and provides innovative programs for science teachers. The Undergraduate Research Program, begun in 1959, hosts exceptional undergraduates from around the world for a 10 week research experience each summer. The Laboratory’s over 30-year collaboration with Stony Brook University has attracted many of the University’s graduate students to Cold Spring Harbor for research training. And each year, the Laboratory offers courses at the postgraduate level, hosts international conferences, and organizes small conferences at the nearby Banbury Conference Center. More than 8000 scientists visit our campus each year to participate in these programs. The most recent addition to fulfill our educational mission is the Watson School of Biological Sciences, an innovative graduate program that was established in 1998 and has already made a great difference in how students are trained.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has long been recognized for its excellence in basic research in the biological and biomedical sciences. The current research era began in 1968 when Nobel laureate James D. Watson became the director of the Laboratory and expanded its research activities to focus on cancer and molecular biology in eukaryotes. During the past 35 years, Laboratory scientists have made many fundamental advances in molecular biology. The Watson School of Biological Sciences, now ten years old, is invigorated by the Laboratory’s current fields of research expertise—genetics; molecular, cellular, and structural biology; neuroscience; cancer; plant biology; and bioinformatics. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a marvelous place to enjoy and learn science. I came here 30 years ago, attracted by the rich achievements of the past, the exciting science, the lively people, and the enormous beauty of the campus. Here, graduate students can mingle with the world’s top scientists at meetings and courses. They might find themselves working in laboratories where Barbara McClintock revolutionized genetics, where Al Hershey provided important evidence that DNA is the molecule of heredity, where Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria taught phage genetics and ushered in the era of molecular biology, or where split genes were discovered.
The diversified components of the Laboratory are incorporated into the design of our innovative graduate program. By taking advantage of its extensive resources, the Watson School of Biological Sciences offers a novel curriculum that will challenge its graduate students—biologists of the future—to become leaders in science and in society.