New Macular Research Lab’s
‘Radically Different’ Design Aims to Facilitate High-impact Research WHEN DR. SCOTT COUSINS, DUKE OPHTHALMOLOGY’S VICE CHAIR OF RESEARCH AND DIRECTOR OF THE DUKE CENTER FOR MACULAR DISEASES, learned that the center’s research laboratory would be moving into a new space, he saw an opportunity to eschew traditional lab design conventions in favor of a plan that better supports today’s research practices and needs. Cousins worked closely with Duke architects and his colleagues who will share the space to design the new, state-of-the-art macular research lab. This innovative lab emphasizes common technology zones and comfortable, clustered work spaces to encourage interaction and collaboration among technicians, students, and staff scientists.
“In traditional laboratories, each scientist is isolated at his or her own bench, with ownership of their equipment and space,” Cousins explains. “But today’s research isn’t about ownership and separation; it’s about interaction, collaboration, and technology. So we’ve thoughtfully designed this new space to create an environment that stimulates creative thought, sharing, and collaboration, but is also flexible enough to accommodate evolving technologies and expansion and contraction of individual research programs. This innovative design gives us tremendous bang for our buck.” In addition to the shared lab benches, technology areas, and work spaces, the bright, open lab includes cores that are used collectively by all investigators on the floor, including histology, cell culture, microscopes, and a “freezer farm” filled with various refrigerators. continued on page 12 Michael Allingham, MD, PhD; Scott Cousins, MD; and Prithu Mettu, MD; Duke Eye Center medical retina clinician-scientists, partner on research and worked closely on the lab space design (bottom right). New innovative lab space (top, opposite page), Prithu Mettu, MD discusses a project with lab staff (bottom, opposite page). Work area outside of lab encourages collaboration among the research team (bottom left).
DUKE EYE CENTER