CLP Events Bring Hundreds of Students, Researchers Together

By Roger AndersonAugust 10, 2018

More than 300 researchers and graduate students recently explored the scientific offerings at Northwestern’s Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP).

The CLP Core Crawl — held in Evanston on July 12 — and Core Expo — held in Chicago on August 9 — showcased the institute’s growing portfolio of shared research facilities used to develop next-generation molecular therapeutics and diagnostics for cancer, heart disease, rare orphan diseases, and other intractable health conditions.

CLP is part of Northwestern’s ecosystem of 53 University Research Institutes and Centers, interdisciplinary knowledge hubs that harness talent from across all areas of the institution.

“A significant hurdle at any large research-intensive university can be the dearth of connections between scientific research groups: low connectivity often leads to different groups reinventing common technologies,” says Thomas O'Halloran, CLP director and Morrison Professor of Chemistry. “The Core Crawl and Expo are a fun way to bring students and fellows out of their labs and introduce them to the emerging technologies and in-house expertise of a growing team of professional staff scientists at CLP.”

CLP provides investigators across Northwestern, as well as users from industry and other research institutions, access to highly specialized instrumentation as well as PhD-level expertise.

In addition to poster exhibits, the events included mini-consultations, demonstrations, and tours of CLP facilities inside the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics. Operators and technicians explained how the facilities work together to advance innovative, transdisciplinary biomedical research. Event sponsors MilliporeSigma and Fisher Scientific also answered questions and provided information about their products and services, many of which are used by the cores.

“CLP combines all these seemingly disparate facilities into one collaborative unit that’s all working together,” says Keith MacRenaris, managing director of CLP’s Quantitative Bio-element Imaging Center. “If you are doing any sort of drug development or molecular pharmaceuticals you can do almost everything under one roof in Silverman Hall.”

CLP operates eight cores and three centers of excellence that play a critical role in accelerating research across the University. Approximately 75 administrative, technical, and research staff at the institute support 58 affiliated faculty working at the interface of the physical sciences, chemistry, medicine, and life sciences. Institute experts have served as co-investigators on nearly $100 million in funded research, including a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center grant award to Northwestern’s Physical Sciences-Oncology Center.

“These professionals are developing new methods and instrumentation using their expertise in biomedical, physical science, and engineering areas and offer cutting-edge services in fields like proteomics, ultratrace elemental analysis, drug development, and discovery, to name a few,” says O'Halloran. “Anyone conducting biomedical research at Feinberg, Weinberg, McCormick, or even outside of Northwestern, can take advantage of CLP’s world-class resources.”

Lisa La Vallee contributed to this report. Her original article can be found here.