John Yin Cello Professor John Yin is engineering solutions to infectious disease Professor Randolph Ashton is engineering human organoids in vitro Tiny Earth is studentsourcing antibiotic discovery WID is an experiment in interdisciplinary research, pushing the boundaries of science Michael Ferris uses data science tools to model the energy systems of the future. Living Environments Lab CAVE The Virtual Environments Group uses tools like the CAVE to study real-world problems WID researchers combine psychology and optimization to collaborate in color For the latest updates on UW–Madison plans and responses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit covid19.wisc.edu Visit covid19.wisc.edu Discovery Building West view WID celebrates a decade of discovery and innovation. WIDWhiteHorizontalPlain RESEARCH STORIES SUPPORT WID

Reinventing Discovery

The world's greatest scientific challenges can't be met by individual scientists, laboratories, or departments. The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery is an experiment in interdisciplinarity, combining the best minds in new teams with powerful tools that transcend the boundaries of departments and fields.


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Innovations in the research process help us solve the biggest problems with a new approach to science:

Targeted Expertise

Convening experts from emerging fields

Training & Teaching

Cultivating interdisciplinary skills and language

Town Halls & Forums

Gathering diverse ideas and people

Tackling Challenges

Addressing ambitious Grand Challenges

Expertise at WID

WID researchers make fundamental discoveries at the intersections of disciplines to solve problems that require an interdisciplinary approach.

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Stories of Discovery

Research, outreach, and initiatives at WID embody the Wisconsin Idea — reaching beyond the walls of the institute and the UW campus and into the lives of citizens across the state, country, and world.


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Call for Artists

UW–Madison is accepting proposals from artists or teams of artists for consideration for an indoor public art mural that recognizes and honors innovative past, present and future contributions of Wisconsin’s diverse communities and individuals dedicated to advancing science and technology.      Submission deadline is February 28.  More information is available here.
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New way to alter DNA, affect health circumvents gut bacteria

In a new study, the John Denu lab has learned that the fatty acids butyrate and propionate also activate p300, a crucial human enzyme that promotes the unspooling of DNA. This unwound DNA allows more genes to become active and expressed, which ultimately affects human health.
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Bacterial “zorbing” reveals a new type of social movement

While studying the three-member model microbial community, nicknamed The Hitchhikers of the Rhizosphere (THOR), researchers from professor of plant pathology and director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Jo Handelsman and professor of biomedical engineering and Discovery Fellow David Beebe’s labs noticed cells moving in unexpected, unique ways under the microscope.
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Grand Challenges

Slide WID sets its sights on the biggest challenges facing humanity. Explore our Grand Challenges > Keep the human brain healthy Learn more trending_flat Mitigate soil loss and climate change Learn more trending_flat Ensure equity in the impact of data science Learn more trending_flat Bring science to people and people to science Learn more trending_flat

Discovery Hubs

WID’s hubs act as integrators for the campus community, generating new ideas that nucleate new collaborative research projects. The hubs make use of WID expertise to provide services that assist other researchers in applying specialized tools to a range of problems extending far beyond the scope of WID’s programs. Explore WID’s Hubs: