Do bricks and mortar really matter in the scientific enterprise? Irv Weissman, MD, thinks so. And that’s why Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, thinks that the new Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building is the perfect location to stimulate collaborative efforts between researchers and clinicians.
I spoke to Weissman last week about the new 200,000-square-foot facility – considered the largest research building of its kind in the world – for a 1:2:1 podcast. We talked about the building’s major benefactor, Lorry I. Lokey, and the critical role that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has played in stem cell research to date. Weissman also told me why he believes having art prominently displayed in a research facility is so vital for the scientific endeavor. (A giant, two-ton, blue glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly and donated by philanthropist Sue McCollum hangs in the building’s atrium.)
At the end of the interview I asked Weissman what he thinks about when he looks at the building from the outside. He told me he saw a home for what he hopes is a great scientific enterprise. He marvels at the speed at which stem cell research has matured. “Not long ago, this was just a bare idea.” He then reflected on the long term and the future of stem cell science: “We’re making a home that’s going to last a century here at Stanford.”