Beyond the Lab Bench

There’s more to Whitehead Institute than meets the eye. Its labs carry out world-class biomedical research, but the people here also find ways to pursue their other interests and make Kendall Square a more colorful place. In our ongoing series #BeyondtheLabBench, we’re collecting some of those colorful sides of the Institute to give you a sense of what life here is like.

Collage of people and pets of Whitehead Institute.

For nearly 30 years, Salt Creek Catering — led by husband-and-wife team Jim Nally and Tina Truedson — has served Whitehead Institute with delicious food made in-house and reasonably priced. The Whitehead Cafeteria, affectionately known as “the Caf,” is a nexus of the Institute’s community as well as a culinary keystone for people working around Kendall Square. 

The challenges of completing a research project are often compared to a marathon. But it’s not just a metaphor: many biologists are distance runners. Whitehead Institute researchers often look to several miles along the Charles to sort out how to solve a problem—or just to take a break and get out in nature.

Considering that researchers at Whitehead Institute devote their working hours to probing the mysteries of the biological world, it’s no surprise that many scientists and staff are also animal lovers.

For over 30 years, Whitehead Institute has fielded a softball team in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Community Summer Softball league. Created in 1986, just four years after the Institute itself, the Biohazards have helped link past and former Institute personnel and provided a way for people to enjoy themselves outside the lab.