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Inside the Lab Profession, Technology and innovation

The Lab of the Future – Now

At a Glance

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering has built a modern, forward-thinking clinical laboratory for its cancer center
  • The open floor plan, mobile work surfaces, and uniquely designed vertical transport systems facilitate continuous workflow redesign and improvement
  • Positioning the clinical leadership adjacent to one another fosters cross-specialty collaboration
  • Focusing on the scientists’ needs helps build a more efficient environment

Growth and evolution are important aspects to embrace in science – and they’re vitally important when it comes to the laboratories behind cancer testing. When Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) wanted to grow their laboratory to accommodate more staff and facilities, they saw an opportunity to review their approach to creating a lab and decided to build one from the ground up to make a space that could adapt to their needs as they grow and evolve.

Laying a foundation

The groundwork for the new building began nearly six years ago with supporting future growth at the top of MSK’s priority list. The facility in use at the time was a challenge to remodel, so the decision to relocate led them to a spacious building – formerly an old garage. That construction posed quite a few challenges – digging into the ground uncovered an ancient creek bed – but as the rebuilding began, the team’s ideas of what the lab could be grew more complex. MSK’s Chair in Laboratory Medicine, Melissa Pessin, says,  “We were starting almost from scratch, so why not push the possibilities as far as they could go?” The ambitious project came at the cost of time. The initial completion date was planned for 2015, but ended up being 2017. The results, however, seemed well worth the wait. “What we now have is a uniquely engineered building that is tailored not just for our current needs, but for what we anticipate needing in the future as well,” says Pessin.

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About the Author

William Aryitey

My fascination with science, gaming, and writing led to my studying biology at university, while simultaneously working as an online games journalist. After university, I travelled across Europe, working on a novel and developing a game, before finding my way to Texere. As Associate Editor, I’m evolving my loves of science and writing, while continuing to pursue my passion for gaming and creative writing in a personal capacity.

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