Our Future

Wistar has begun its greatest period of growth in decades. In both physical improvements and scientific discoveries, Wistar is surging ahead.

Breaking Ground

When The Wistar Institute was built in 1894, it was state-of-the-art. Wistar’s scientific scope grew with the years, and in 1975, Wistar added a cancer research building and vivarium. Many of the engineering systems in the cancer research building and the animal facility have now reached the end of their useful life. In order to pursue research at the highest level, new construction and renovation were necessary.

New Spruce Street EntranceThis is a major investment in Wistar’s future, and a pivotal time in its history. Wistar has recently renovated the cancer research building and constructed an adjacent seven-story research tower, the Robert and Penny Fox Tower, that will fuel the engine of discovery for years to come.

The focus is on "Team Science": researchers from diverse disciplines will come together around a common question, pooling expertise and resources to find answers. This team approach to scientific research in turn informs the new building design.

[At left, a photo of the new Robert and Penny Fox Tower on Spruce Street.]

The seven-story research tower houses five new laboratory floors, increasing the number of labs from 30 to 42-45.

Each floor’s bold design features one vast, open laboratory space, underscoring connectivity and sparking collaboration. At the street level, accessible and airy public spaces will host Wistar’s education programs, bringing science to more people, from students to seniors.

Major construction began in the fall of 2011, with completion achieved in 2014.

From Breaking Ground to Groundbreaking Discoveries

The new construction gives Wistar an opportunity to expand its scientific programs and develop its faculty. Wistar’s culture, long known for its intellectual freedom, unconventional thinking, and risk-taking, will be enhanced and have more ground to flourish.

As part of Wistar's ongoing mission to fuel the scientific discoveries that have the potential to save lives, the Institute will:

•   Continue to strengthen its cancer research program.  This program recently received an "exceptional" rating from the National Cancer Institute, and researchers are eager to use new state-of-the-art tools to study tumor immunology, the role of genetic abnormalities in cancer, create new drugs, and focus on finding a cure for ovarian cancer.

•   Meet the global demands for disease control with its vaccine program. At Wistar, scientists aim to develop a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, advance a promising new HIV vaccine, develop a new vaccine for rabies, and develop approaches for a Universal Flu Vaccine.

•   Fully develop and integrate the Wistar Centers and team science.

•   Expand the scientific faculty with targeted recruitment.

Wistar aims to recruit new faculty in the next 5–10 years, bringing the total principal investigator complement up to 42–45 faculty members.

Wistar science will continue to change the world as we know it.