This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of Northeastern’s Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, a milestone that was honored last week at a daylong conference on campus. During its 40-year history, the institute has pioneered breakthroughs in biotechnology, forensic science, and advanced materials study.
The conference welcomed industry and academic leaders from around the world; current and former students and faculty of the institute; and Laurie Werner and Eliott Barnett, children of Lou and Madlyn Barnett, who endowed the institute in 1983.
Through its four decades of research, the Barnett Institute has made several major scientific advancements in its field, including the development of new analytical techniques and instrumentation, a major analytical contribution to the Human Genome Project, and the discovery of novel biomarkers for cancer. Recently, Barnett researchers have been developing the next generation of pharmaceutical analysis to accommodate the increasingly complex biosimilar drugs now flooding the market.
Among the institute’s primary goals is a focus on industrial partnerships. “We’ve believed for a long time that industry and academia have to come closer together, and there’s a lot of commonality between them,” said Barry Karger, the institute’s founding director.
Going from a big idea to a commercial drug requires the expertise of more than six dozen people with different skill sets, according to Fleming. “A number of those key skill sets,” he said, “are ones that come out of the Barnett Institute.”
In closing, Fleming praised the institute. “Barnett has indeed become a leader in its field,” he said, noting Karger’s unparalleled contribution to its success.
After the symposium, the guests gathered in the Fenway Center for a gala celebration in honor of the institute’s anniversary and Karger’s 50 years of service to Northeastern. As part of the celebration, alumni and friends, including the Barnett Family, announced a new effort to establish the Karger Prize in Bioanalytical Chemistry.