Discovery atrium photo by ESTO 10 YEARS OF
december 2020 At the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
december 2020 At the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

days until our 10th Anniversary
Join us in celebrating ten years of innovative, collaborative, interdisciplinary science at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. This year we also mark ten years of partnership with our home, the Discovery Building. Together, we have built a hub of collaboration, a gateway to science for the public, and a bright future for the Wisconsin Idea. Learn more about WID
Celebrating a Decade
of Discovery

1: Jo, Ch., VC, JD Jo Handelsman Director, WID Rebecca Blank Chancellor, UW–Madison Jim Doyle 44th Governor of Wisconsin Steve Ackerman Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, UW–Madison 2: PB, TT, JY, LH Patricia Flatley Brennan Director, National Library of Medicine Lih-Sheng "Tom" Turng Professor of Mechanical Engineering John Yin Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Laura Heisler Director of Programming, WARF 3: DS, GA, SM, JP Derrick Smith Director of Development, WID Ginger Ann Executive Director, Illuminating Discovery Hub Josh Pultorak Partner Instructor, Tiny Earth Sarah Miller Executive Director, Tiny Earth 4: RA, KS, KS, KM Karen Schloss Assistant Professor of Psychology Randolph Ashton Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Kris Saha Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Katie Mueller PhD Candidate, Saha Lab 4: CSL, JD Claudia Solís-Lemus Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology John Denu Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry Karen Schloss Assistant Professor of Psychology Randolph Ashton Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Voices of Discovery Click on the videos below to hear from leaders who helped to create and shape the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and who are building the future of the institute. Watch more videos

Slide 19 core faculty from more than a dozen UW–Madison departments 1K+ Publications in data sciences, tissue engineering, nanomedicine, multi-omics, & more 100+ AWARDS from a wide variety of foundations & agencies 33 Discovery Fellows from across the UW campus, augmenting WID's expertise and impact WID By the Numbers 2010-2020 We've accomplished a lot in ten years.

Slide The University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial. The Ho-Chunk were forced to cede this territory on which the Discovery Building sits and decades of ethnic cleansing followed. This history of colonization informs our shared future of collaboration and innovation. Today, UW-Madison respects the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation, along with the eleven other First Nations of Wisconsin.
Learn more
A Site on
Sacred Land

#10: Opt Ecology # 10: Putting optimization models into the hands of ecologists Optimizing Ecology WID and UW Limnology researchers including WID's Michael Ferris teamed up with natural resource agencies to use mathematical optimization models. The goal: to change the way resources are allocated and assist in the recovery of native fish in the Great Lakes basin. The result: a tool that can tell resource managers what to do with a given budget to maximize increases in fish habitat (and more). Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #9: Nanoclusters # 9: Nanoclusters that could one day make stents obsolete A Stent-Free Future Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong’s collaborators are developing a drug that maintains open blood vessels. Gong, an expert in nanomedicine, devised a delivery method by engineering biomimetic nanoclusters to carry a drug to the appropriate location. The biomembrane coating acts as a guide to take the particle to the targeted location. The approach could benefit millions of patients with various cardiovascular diseases. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #8: Precise CRISPR # 8: Creating tools for more precise gene editing CRISPR Accuracy Error rates as high as 50 percent using CRISPR-Cas9 are a particular problem when the goal is to correct typos in the DNA that cause genetic disease. Kris Saha used a molecular glue, RNA aptamer, to assemble and deliver a complete CRISPR repair kit to the site of the DNA cut, making sure everything is in the right place: he’s achieved an accuracy rate of 98%. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #7: Data and Color # 7: Applying data science tools to a psychology problem: communicating with color Data + Color Karen Schloss and Laurent Lessard applied Lessard’s operations research—also applied to scheduling and logistics problems like package delivery and flight scheduling—to make sense of color coding systems. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #6: PCK1 gene # 6: Discovering the role of a gene in diabetes and cancer PCK1 and Metabolism PCK1 participates in metabolic pathways that are essential for cell survival and was known to be involved in glucose maintenance. The new finding from John Denu and collaborators was PCK1’s role in diabetes and metastasis. The enzyme is present in some tissues such as the liver or kidney, and with its activity can supply glucose to other tissues that feed mainly on it, such as the brain. The gene is implicated in pathologies related to alterations in glucose levels in the body, such as diabetes, but also with different types of cancer, by providing tumor cells with molecules that they need for proliferation. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #5: On/off switch # 5: An on/off switch for flowering in plants Flower On, Flower Off Flowering is a key life cycle process for plants moderated by groups of regulating proteins. But Xuehua Zhong found a single protein that can bind to two different chemical modifications on chromatin, promoting OR preventing the transition to flowering. “This linking of a developmental on-and-off switch in one protein provides opportunities for improving crops and could also help scientists study diseases like cancer.” Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #4: 3D Organoids A brightfield microscope image shows organoids developing in a hydrogel after 16 days of culture. Image courtesy Ashton lab. # 4: 3D control over developing human organoids Organs, to Order Randolph Ashton and Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng created hydrogel molds that allow them to precisely control the three- dimensional structures of organoids, making sure that they grow into tissues complex enough to mimic human organs. Ashton is particularly interested in using the technique to create spinal cord organoids to better understand development of the spinal cord, diseases that affect it (ALS, spinal muscular atrophy), and neurotoxic effects of pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #3: THOR Bacteria growth on a plate # 3: A new model community to understand microbial communities The Power of THOR Jo Handelsman and her team developed a community consisting of three species of bacteria—all with sequenced genomes—isolated from soybean roots and grown together. The complex community of microbes developed new behaviors together that couldn’t be predicted from the individual members alone — they grew tougher structures known as biofilms, changed how they moved across their environment, and controlled the release of a novel antibiotic. By understanding communities like THOR, scientists can begin to manipulate them to produce benefits. Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right #2: Generating stem cells # 2: Combining computational and lab techniques to generate stem cells more efficiently Stem Cell Jump-Start By using Sushmita Roy’s computational techniques to understand gene regulation during the cellular reprogramming process, Rupa Sridharan’s lab has developed a new cocktail of small molecules that has jump-started the cell cycle in induced pluripotent stem cells, a critical advance that has increased the success rate to around 40% and shortened the time scale of
3induced pluripotency. Using iPS cells eliminates the need for embryonic cells for many regenerative medicine purposes.
Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right
#1: Artificial blood vessels Silk Scaffold # 1: A new technique could mean mass-producible artificial blood vessels Pumping Out Blood Vessels Currently, artificial blood vessels with diameters smaller than 6 millimeters—the kind needed for bypass surgeries—are not commercially available. Lih-Sheng "Tom" Turng’s invention promises to eliminate the need to harvest blood vessels from patients. “Kind of like when you order something off Amazon and it ships right away; we want to do the same thing—but instead, the off-the-shelf product is artificial blood vessels that doctors can implant into a patient.” Learn More keyboard_arrow_left keyboard_arrow_right
Counting down
Ten Big Discoveries
from WID's first ten years

Slide Become a part of our next 10 years — or our next 100 — by supporting WID with a gift.

Help us continue to push the boundaries of science.
Support WID
About WID Research at WID More Stories & DIscoveries More People