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Rep. Peters, Mayor Faulconer Launch First Ever Public Biotech Laboratory

SAN DIEGO – Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gathered local educational and scientific leaders to unveil a groundbreaking public biotech lab in the La Jolla-Riford Library. Believed to be the first such open facility in the world, the Basic safety Level 1 lab is the product of a partnership between the San Diego Wet Lab and the La Jolla-Riford Library that offers classes, workshops, and speakers series to educate students and the community on biology and biotechnology.

“San Diego’s thriving science and research communities make it the perfect place for such a bold and unprecedented venture to succeed,” Rep. Scott Peters said. “The realization of this public-private partnership will expose students to careers in STEM fields and prepare them to be a part of our future workforce. I hope that this laboratory provides a model for others to follow in our region and around the country.”

“Installing a functional molecular biology laboratory in a library is no ordinary feat,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “This is a revolutionary concept and I’m proud to say San Diego is one of the first. Today, we are literally making innovation a public resource, which is fitting for a world-class city of innovation.”

Libraries have always been about providing a public forum and a resource for learning. The partners in this venture believe that their success could be a model for adapting the role of libraries in our communities and meeting the demand for more scientists in the workforce.

“The Library’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other,” said Misty Jones, Director of the La Jolla-Riford Library. “We are naturally technology facilitators and guides to the future. We know that fun and educational workshops pique the interest in the sciences among young people.”

“Our collective goal is to provide a cost-free, safe and stimulating experience to people of all ages who are interested in gaining lab experience and exploring the world of molecular biology,” said Laura Jordan-Smith, Public Outreach Director at the San Diego Wet Lab. “The facility here in the library is designed to offer a basic understanding of the tools, protocols, and science behind the rapidly developing biotech industry. We have developed library programming including a Science Lecture Series as well as hands-on workshops to facilitate direct connections with scientists.”

The launch was held while Muirlands Middle School students took part in a lab workshop about DNA overseen by professionals from the San Diego Wet Lab. A number of representatives from local schools and organizations were in attendance to learn about the lab’s resources and try out its equipment.

“The Salk Education Outreach is looking forward to our new partnership with the La Jolla Riford Library,” said Dona Mapston, Education Outreach Coordinator at the Salk Institute. “We are excited about providing educational opportunities to the community about the wonders of biomedical research.”