Interdisciplinary Thinking: Thomas M. Jessell

October 17, 2012

Thomas M. Jessell, co-director of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, believes the program offers the prospect of changing the way that many aspects of academics will be pursued at Columbia in the decades to come. He says the initiative, which brings neuroscience together with the humanities and the social sciences, will serve as a template for 21st century scholarship. It will have its new home in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on the Manhattanville campus.
Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the Greene building is scheduled to open in 2015. It is supported by a $250 million gift from the late Dawn Greene and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, and will bring together a cohort of Columbia researchers roughly equal in scope to that of Rockefeller University on Manhattan’s east side. In years ahead, the blocks between 129th and 131st will also become a new home for Columbia Business School, School of the Arts, the School of International and Public Affairs, as well as a University conference center. As a result, the Manhattanville campus will become a mixing bowl for a diversity of academic disciplines—and free up much-needed space on the Morningside and medical center campuses.

The first new structure to be completed in the University’s long-term campus plan, the nine-story, 450,000-square-foot building will have 60 laboratories where faculty and students will explore the relationships between gene function, brain wiring and behavior—research with vast implications for the treatment of brain illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.