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After dinner talk delivered by Maxine Singer


Baltimore, MD – Carnegie Institution trustees will dedicate a new, $31.2-million research laboratory on the Johns Hopkins University campus on Thursday, December 1, 2005, at 6:30 PM. The building will be named in honor of Carnegie Institution President Emerita and National Medal of Science winner Maxine F. Singer. The new building, located at 3520 San Martin Drive, houses Carnegie’s Department of Embryology.

“Dramatic advances in medical science depend on basic sciences, like that conducted by Carnegie researchers,” remarked Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. “Our scientists focus on understanding basic genetic and cellular mechanisms, which is the foundation for curing serious diseases and birth defects. The new Singer building is designed to facilitate our scientists’ work. This advanced, 21st century facility is a tribute to the creativity of Maxine Singer.”

The Department of Embryology is an unusual research organization that undertakes a unique “Carnegie style” of science. The building’s design encourages frequent interaction among researchers facilitating the collaborations from which startling new advances often arise. The almost 80,000 square-foot Singer building has 13 modern and well-equipped research laboratories, as well as shared spaces, such as a library, meeting rooms, genomics facilities, specialized instrument rooms, and supply rooms. It also features the state-of-the-art Rose Auditorium, made possible by a generous donation by Deborah Rose. The Maxine F. Singer Building was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership. It would not have been possible without the support from more than 180 individuals, foundations, and corporations, including the Kresge Foundation, which awarded the institution a $1.5 million challenge grant.

Maxine Singer served as the Carnegie Institution’s eighth president. During her tenure, Singer appointed new directors to each of the institution’s six research departments, rebuilt scientific laboratories, erected new buildings, financed and managed the construction of Carnegie’s new 6.5-meter optical telescopes in Chile, initiated science education and outreach programs in Washington, D.C., bolstered the institution’s endowment, and established the first new scientific department in more than 80 years–the Department of Global Ecology in California.

Singer came to Carnegie in 1988 from the National Institutes of Health, where she was chief of the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Cancer Institute. There she led 15 research groups. She retained her association with the institute as scientist emerita during her decade and a half at Carnegie. She retired from Carnegie on December 31, 2002. In recognition of her scientific contributions, she was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1992.

The Carnegie Institution’s connection to Baltimore began over 100 years ago, in 1902, when Daniel Coit Gilman, then president of the Johns Hopkins University, was appointed president of the newly created Carnegie Institution. In 1914, Carnegie’s Department of Embryology was founded in affiliation with the Anatomy Department of the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Soon after World War II, the affiliation was broadened to include the Johns Hopkins Department of Biology.

Through the decades, Carnegie’s association with the university has been one of scientific collaboration and mutual enhancement. Today, Johns Hopkins Biology graduate students conduct research in Carnegie labs; Hopkins and Carnegie faculty collaborate; and Carnegie scientists teach courses at the university. Many advances in developmental biology and genetics have emerged from this dynamic relationship.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington ( has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.