It’s been a long and uniquely challenging year at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). It began in March 2020 at our old lab in Cambridge, MA, when the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to ask many of our scientists and staff to work from home. Thanks in large part to our automated systems, and a few essential staff, we were able to maintain the pace of ALS research even at the very start of the pandemic. However, we missed being all together in the lab, under one roof.
Due to safety protocols, we also had to pause our practice of welcoming our supporters into the lab for tours – a particularly tough decision, despite its necessity to protect our community.
As the year went on and we learned more about COVID-19 and how to set up appropriate safety guidelines, we slowly welcomed back more and more scientists back into the lab. This past February, we moved into our new space in Watertown, MA. Though we were extremely excited about this new space, COVID-19 restrictions still prevented us from welcoming visitors to the new lab.
This spring, as more people in MA have become vaccinated, state restrictions have been gradually lifted, and more of – our team has been able to come together in the lab. Despite this progress, we have missed having our entire team together, and being able to welcome the community in to see our new space. Luckily, this will be changing beginning in June. Starting June 1st, 2021, MA has announced that the state will be dropping most COVID-19 restrictions. In accordance with this, we are excited to take two big steps toward normalcy.
First, we will be allowed to have our entire science team back into the lab at once, rather than working in shifts. Our scientists have done an incredible job of making sure our research did not miss a step while we had to operate with limited in-person capacity – collaborating remotely, coming into the lab in shifts, and finding creative workarounds to run experiments from home. However, one of our defining features as an organization is having so many different aspects of drug discovery under one roof. We look forward to continuing that atmosphere of collaboration as we work to advance some our discoveries of the past year – and look for new ones.
Second, and nearly as important to us, we will once again be able to welcome community members in to tour the lab. As a community supported biotech, this is YOUR lab, and we’re so excited to invite you to come and see our new space. We hope that you will consider visiting us at our new location in Watertown!
If you’re interested in touring our lab, located at 480 Arsenal St. in Watertown, MA, you can find more information here. To learn more about our research to end ALS, click here.
Please note, for the health and safety of our guests and or staff, we will still be requiring visitors and employees to wear masks in the lab until further notice.