Public Health

What a week!

December 7, 2011

President’s Cancer Panel

I am so grateful to all the people who responded to the White House announcement about their intent to appoint me and Owen Witte, MD to the President’s Cancer Panel. We cannot discuss the PCP until appointments are finalized (assuming they are). Then, we look forward to opening a larger dialogue about what topics and issues the PCP should address. This will be part of transparency and input from a wide range of public and private organizations.

Building for Collaboration and Community

A group of us from UNC, including architects who will design the first Carolina North building, spent hours Monday walking through science buildings in Boston, mostly at MIT and in the Kendall Square area. Our collective goal is to create the new Carolina North research building to foster collaboration.

On my way back from working out early morning, I walked by the Broad Institute. I really liked the way the first floor of the building was surrounded by screens with which the public could interact. A couple of them showed second by second results from sequencing projects that were occurring in laboratories. Great idea: bring people into laboratories. The more they understand what we do, the more they will appreciate and value our work. An additional benefit may be a contribution to scientific literacy.

Two buildings we visited were especially interesting and appealing; MIT’s Media Lab and headquarters of Genzyme. I can imagine working in buildings like those. I’ve admired the legendary creativity and innovation of the Media Lab for years, and physical spaces at the lab are designed to unleash those qualities. Here are a few photos I took while there – not professional quality, but I hope you’ll get the idea.



Our buildings and spaces within them should be places that excite and encourage creativity, commitment, collaboration and community as part of the research process. This doesn’t just happen. These spaces must be created and organized intentionally. Thinking about how to facilitate science by design really excites me!

Happy Monday! Barbara


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The views expressed in this blog are Barbara Rimer’s alone and do not represent the views and policies of The University of North Carolina or the Gillings School.