By Karen Zusi-Tran
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is launching a free, public, educational space that showcases how researchers at the Broad Institute and their colleagues around the world are tackling some of the toughest questions in biomedicine, gaining a deeper understanding of human health and disease, and translating that insight into new approaches for treatments. The new Broad Discovery Center, located on the main floor of 415 Main Street, Cambridge, will open to the public this October.
Visitors to the Discovery Center will find informative and interactive exhibits focused on psychiatric conditions, cancer, infectious diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and rare genetic conditions. Through engaging imagery and storytelling, these exhibits explore how scientists are systematically studying the biology underlying these conditions, developing new strategies for treatment, and building datasets and cutting-edge technologies to share worldwide.
Within the galleries, visitors can also engage with digital touchscreens to hear from a variety of researchers and dive deeper into current work and key discoveries made by Broad scientists and partners. All content is targeted towards teens and adults, and will be updated periodically to reflect new progress and research directions.
“At Broad, we are highly committed to public engagement with science and education,” said Namrata Sengupta, associate director of the Broad Discovery Center. “We are thrilled to have this new avenue, years in the making, to bring in surrounding communities and share these exciting stories.”
“Our community in Cambridge, in Kendall Square, is such a unique ecosystem,” said Cambridge mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “I hope visitors to the Broad Discovery Center see that there’s so much we can be proud of as a city here, and I hope our residents and students take away that feeling of how special this is.”
“Modern biomedical science, in Kendall Square and beyond, is collaborative. It requires everyone — researchers, physicians, patients, and more — working closely together, sharing data and knowledge,” said Todd Golub, director of the Broad Institute. “The Broad Discovery Center showcases these amazing stories and the insights that are transforming the way we approach human disease.”
The Broad Discovery Center is located in the heart of Kendall Square. Entry is free for all visitors. The galleries will first open to the public as an early preview from Monday, October 3 to Thursday, October 6, during the 2022 Cambridge Science Festival.
After the Cambridge Science Festival, the Broad Discovery Center will open on a regular basis starting Monday, October 31. Staffed hours will be Monday through Wednesday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Visitors can also explore the galleries as a self-guided experience when the building is open during standard business hours.
The five galleries at the Broad Discovery Center usher visitors through a variety of research areas:
To develop programming and ensure that the space, content, and outreach efforts meet the needs of visitors, the Broad Discovery Center team is also working with a group of community representatives from local government, education, healthcare, and scientific groups.
“Understanding these fundamental mysteries and challenges in science is important for all audiences, especially as we look to inspire the next generation of scientists,” said Fabiola Alikpokou, a project planner with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority and community advisor to the Broad Discovery Center. “The Discovery Center is an exciting place for visitors to learn about human health and disease, and I look forward to the value it will bring to our local neighborhoods.”
The Broad Discovery Center was created by a cross-functional team across the Broad Institute, in partnership with local firm CambridgeSeven leading the architecture and design efforts. The team collaborated with an extended group of consultants leading media, lighting, electronics, and construction, including Cortina Productions, Electrosonic, Eos Lightmedia, Mystic Scenic Studios, Natalie Zanecchia Design, and Shawmut Design and Construction.
“The design team has created a unique, immersive, engaging scientific visitor experience utilizing a bold architectural expression, a variety of media interactives, and powerful graphic design,” said Timothy Mansfield, principal-in-charge of CambridgeSeven. “Together, the five exhibit galleries bring to life all the fascinating research and discoveries happening at the Broad and will be an exciting addition to the vibrant Kendall Square community.”