Northeastern’s Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis celebrates 50th anniversary by looking to the future

The founder of Northeastern University’s Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis made it clear that the institute’s 50th anniversary was as much a celebration of its future in cutting-edge research as a tribute to its past.

“You can’t be afraid of doing new things. Science changes so rapidly, each one of you is going to have to reinvent yourself multiple times,” Barry L. Karger said during an anniversary event last week at the EXP research complex on the Boston campus.

From the launch of the institute in 1973, Karger said, “We understood we’d have to keep inventing ourselves.”

In today’s world that means using algorithms, machine learning, advanced mass spectrometry and other tools to achieve the institute’s mission of measuring molecules to understand how they work in order to advance the field of analytical chemistry and biology.

“Who knows in five or 10 years,” said Karger, James L. Waters Chair and Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

“Karger’s vision was that understanding molecules was crucial to understanding where they could be used,” said Hazel Sive, dean of Northeastern’s College of Science.

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Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Barnett Institute for Chemical & Biological Analysis