Added Life Sciences Tours Available for Registration

We think it would be a crime to visit Cambridge for a science writers' conference without taking some time to explore the area's bustling R&D scene. Many of you evidently agree, as registration for the special field trips, tours, and events organized by Knight Science Journalism at MIT has been extremely brisk. Several tours—including the trips to the Broad Institute, BU's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA—are already "sold out" or nearly so.

Today I'm pleased to announce that three additional tours are now available for registration, all in the life sciences realm. They include a Monday Oct. 12 tour of LabCentral, a Tuesday Oct. 13 tour of Biogen, and a Tuesday, Oct. 13 tour of Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

In fact, these tours have been part of the official ScienceWriters2015 listings since the meeting site went live in early August. But due to a glitch, they weren't actually listed among the options available for registration on our conference sign-up pages. That oversight has now been fixed.

The upside is that all three of these tours have lots of availability for new registrants—at least for the moment. If you've already submitted your tour choices and you'd like to switch into one of these, that's also easy to do. Just dig out your ScienceWriters2015 confirmation e-mail, click on the "Confirmation Details" link, and then choose "Edit Registration." That will take you a page where you can uncheck your previous choices and select new ones.

At LabCentral, you'll see a new form of life-sciences entrepreneurship taking shape. It's a first-of-its-kind co-working space shared by about 30 early-stage biotech companies, all using common resources such as bench space, reagents, and equipment. Following a model pioneered in the high-tech startup realm by the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, LabCentral offers not just infrastructure but access to investors, legal assistance, and potential industry partners. This intimate tour, limited to 30 people, will include a presentation by LabCentral staff and a guided tour of the facility, which is in a historic Cambridge building formerly occupied by such famous innovators as Alexander Graham Bell and Edwin Land.

The Tuesday morning tour to Johnson & Johnson Innovation's Boston/Cambridge hub in Kendall Square will be a chance to see how the biomedical giant is working to incorporate cutting-edge science into new products. Participants in this tour will meet with Robert Urban, head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston, as well as leading researchers from J&J subsidiaries Janssen Research & Development, Ethicon, DePuy Synthes, and Neutrogena.

By the way, we hope you'll join us in thanking Johnson & Johnson Innovation for their generous support of ScienceWriters2015. They're the Platinum sponsor of the overall meeting and the exclusive sponsor of our Friday night welcome reception on October 9.

The tour of Biogen, meanwhile, will take you behind the scenes at one of the pioneers of Cambridge's biotechnology scene. (The company was founded in 1978 by a group of scientist-entrepreneurs including MIT's Phillip Sharp and Harvard's Walter Gilbert.) Biogen's current drug development programs focus on neurological and neurodegenerative conditions, including multiple sclerosis; hemophilia and related blood conditions; and autoimmune, inflammatory, and fibrotic disorders. Biogen's gorgeous new LEED Gold-certified headquarters building on Binney Street in Kendall Square is a demonstration of the company's commitment to sustainability—the company ranked first in Newsweek's 2015 Green Rankings.

KSJ and MIT are grateful to Biogen for its support of ScienceWriters2015; they're one of our Silver sponsors.


Wade Roush

10 Museum Way, Cambridge, MA, 02141, United States

Science and technology journalist based in San Francisco.