A partnership between Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and CUNY makes fun, hands-on science programming accessible to all New Yorkers
Brooklyn, NY — Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and the City University of New York (CUNY) announce the opening of the DNA Learning Center NYC (DNALC NYC) at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, New York. The 18,000 square-foot facility expands CSHL’s lab-based STEM learning program in biology and genetics to 30,000 New York City middle and high school students annually, with a focus on engaging underrepresented communities. At the DNALC NYC, students will conduct hands-on experiments, including analyzing their own DNA. Several City Tech classes, in areas such as genetics, anatomy and physiology, and molecular and cell biology, will be taught in the new, specialized labs.
“Through hands-on science experiments, the DNALC NYC will increase science literacy and help youth in this country’s largest and most diverse city understand how DNA and genetics play a critical role in their health and life decisions,” said CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman. CSHL is the largest provider of biotechnology instruction at the precollege level in the U.S., engaging more than eight million students across the globe in hands-on experiments with DNA. CSHL’s first New York City-based DNALC program, called the Harlem DNA Lab, was opened in 2007 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education.
“CUNY is proud to welcome Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center to the New York City College of Technology, where it will provide an invaluable new source of hands-on STEM education for thousands of New York City students, many of whom come from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the sciences,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “In addition to providing top-notch educational experiences and to inspiring young minds, the DNA Learning Center will expose pre-college learners to CUNY and to the resources and inclusive opportunities that can help them pursue and achieve their educational goals.”
The DNALC NYC is the newest and largest of thirteen CSHL DNA Learning Center teaching facilities in the U.S. Equipped to welcome students, teachers, and families from all five boroughs, the facility at City Tech has six teaching lab classrooms, two computer labs, a cafeteria, and a public exhibition space. Students from 5th–12th grade will benefit from school field trips, after-school and weekend labs, and summer camps. Scholarships are available for students from underrepresented communities, making their DNALC NYC experiences tuition-free. A dozen City Tech classes, in areas such as genetics, anatomy and physiology, and molecular and cell biology, will be taught in the new, specialized labs once full in-person instruction is possible. Two of the DNALC NYC lab classrooms are dedicated to college-level research courses specially-designed for City Tech students.
“I am thrilled to welcome Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center to Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a hub for hands-on STEM laboratory education for all New York City students, and a destination for families to learn about genetics, genealogy, and more. With grants allocated for initial outfitting and an exhibit, the Brooklyn Borough is proud to be a major supporter of this flagship Center and we look forward to a prolific partnership.”
“For over thirty years, the DNALC has worked with students and teachers to develop unique curiosity-driven, hands-on lab experiences that bring science into a student’s life,” said David Micklos, founder and executive director of the CSHL DNALC. “We invite every student in New York City to come to the DNALC NYC and analyze their own DNA.”
“City Tech is privileged to have partnered with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on the development and operation of a flagship DNA Learning Center,” said Russell K. Hotzler, president of City Tech. “The Center will serve New York City schools and become the go-to place in New York City for the public to explore and understand DNA science, the genetic heritage shared among all people, and its impact on human health and society. Such understanding could not be more relevant to the current challenges presented by COVID, and to those yet to come. The Center’s activities also complement City Tech’s focus on promoting STEM education across a diverse student body and scaling up discovery-based undergraduate research.”
Nearly $30 million was raised by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to establish DNALC NYC at City Tech. Generous donations include founding contributor Laurie Landeau Foundation and major contributors Achelis and Bodman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, Carson Family Charitable Trust, Ellen and Casey Cogut, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Jerome Levy Foundation, Terry and Bob Lindsay, The Perkin Fund, Pfizer Foundation, Alison Holtzschue and Doug Schloss, Simons Foundation International, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Danielle and Paul Taubman, Thompson Family Foundation, and Anne Wojcicki Foundation.
About DNA Learning Center
Established in 1988, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center (DNALC) is the largest provider of biotechnology instruction at the precollege level in the United States. DNALC operates 13 teaching laboratories in Cold Spring Harbor, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Sleepy Hollow. Each year 30,000 precollege students conduct hands-on experiments at a DNALC or receive intensive lab instruction from DNALC staff at their schools. More than 23,000 middle- and high-school students have attended our week-long summer camps Eight licensed centers operate in the U.S., Singapore, Austria, China, Nigeria and Mexico. Renowned for devising means for young people, teachers, and parents to conduct sophisticated experiments with DNA, the DNALC also has a robust presence on the Internet, powered by a team of multimedia innovators.
The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 260,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.
About City Tech
City Tech is the largest public college of technology in the northeast. More than half of the teaching space at the college is specialized labs, where students work side-by-side with faculty, many of whom had successful careers outside of academia before they began teaching. City Tech has more students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines than any other college in New York City. This is reflected in graduates annually earning starting and mid-career salaries among the highest in the U.S. At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge and at the center of major transportation hubs, City Tech is a resource for all of New York.