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Boston-area research institute faces closure

The Boston Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI) will decide this week whether to close its doors after more than forty years, the Boston Globe reported today.

The BBRI is a non-profit, independent research institute that once employed about a hundred scientists and supported itself with an amalgam of federal and private grants. On its website, the institute boasts a “unique internal mentorship program for grant writing, which increases the success rate of NIH grant funding above the national level”.

But as researchers across the country can attest, the wellspring of federal funds has shriveled. Headcount has already been cut in half as the BBRI struggled to stay afloat, according to the Globe. In September the BBRI’s board recommended that the institute, founded in 1968, should close. This Thursday, members of the BBRI corporation will decide whether to accept that recommendation.

Research at the institute spans a wide gamut of biomedical research, from cancer biology to the basic science of protein-protein interactions. But stem cell aficionados may know BBRI best as the employer of James Sherley, one of the two plaintiffs in the famed Sherley vs. Sebelius case that threatened federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (see ‘Court upholds federal funding of embryonic stem cell research’).

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