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The Boston Globe

Opinion

The Podium

Bleak days for biomedical research

Boston Biomedical Research Institute recently closed its doors. The closing does not affect my future, because I retired two years ago — volunteering part-time since. My only job, these past several weeks, was to decide what to discard, give away, or take home. That may not seem too gigantic a task, but it meant going over papers and research materials collected over 43 years — I have been at BBRI since its founding in 1970 and a few years earlier when it was part of the Retina Foundation, now the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston. During our relocation to Watertown in 2000, little was discarded.

So, in contrast to most BBRI faculty, I am not moving to a new place — I am just ending a rewarding career at BBRI. The closing is much more of a shock for younger faculty, junior and senior alike. They must find and move to another place — with less space for most and all facing new problems to overcome. It is sad for me, however, because the closing of BBRI is like the loss of an old, dear friend. BBRI started as a small institute with a couple of independent departments headed by respective directors, who secured research funds and managed institute operations. With time though, BBRI evolved into a larger institute with many independent faculty members who obtained individual research grants. I watched and contributed to its corresponding evolution into governance based on faculty democracy.

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