On Jan. 15, you published an opinion piece by Joel Rosenbaum (“For a more frugal Yale”). As members of the Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Executive Committee, we would like to clarify some of his assertions regarding the need for the new Yale Biology Building. While it is true that $15 million was spent to repair the Kline Biology Tower, nearly 75 percent of that money was used to repair the exterior of the building and provided no benefit for the interior. The Kline Biology Tower is failing the department owing to decaying infrastructure that leads to frequent flooding and other problems. In addition, only a small fraction of the laboratories have been refurbished. While adequate animal facilities are among our most pressing needs, construction of the Yale Biology Building is the most efficient and cost effective means to this end — not the construction of a temporary facility, which the University has already rejected as impractical.

The department’s Jan. 11 self study for an upcoming external review summarizes the case for the new building: “The Yale Biology Building is essential for the health of MCDB. It will solve our chronic problems with failing infrastructure in KBT, relocate all of our labs from 13 separate floors in Osborne Memorial in Osborn Memorial Laboratories and KBT onto three floors of much more interactive research space, provide flexibility lacking in our buildings to vary the space occupied by each lab as needs inevitably change over time and replace the inadequate animal facility in OML with a large state-of-the-art facility serving all of Science Hill. The limitations of KBT and OML have created obstacles to the hiring of junior and senior faculty over the last decade and neither building provides an environment for modern research, compared to facilities provided by our peer institutions. The faculty considers the reactivation and completion of the YBB project as its greatest need and highest priority as a department.”

Thomas D. Pollard

Ronald Breaker

Xing-Wang Deng

Haig Keshishian

Shirleen Roeder

The writers are professors in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and members of the MCDB Executive Committee.