It is one of 68 institutions supported by the Cancer Centers Program of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has been an NCI-designated Cancer Center since 1987. The Laboratory is one of a handful of institutions that played a central role in the development of molecular genetics and molecular biology.
It has been home to eight scientists who have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. CSHL is ranked among the leading basic research institutions in the world in molecular biology and genetics. The Laboratory is led by Bruce Stillman, a biochemist and cancer researcher.
Since its inception in 1890, the institution’s campus on the north shore of Long Island has also been a center of biology education. Current CSHL educational programs serve professional scientists, doctoral students in biology, teachers of biology in the K-12 system, and students from the elementary grades through high school. In the past 10 years CSHL conferences & courses have drawn over 81,000 scientists and students (less than 1% of whom came from Africa or South America) to the main campus. For this reason, many scientists consider CSHL a “crossroads of biological science.”
Since 2009 CSHL has partnered with the Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou, China to create Cold Spring Harbor Asia which annually draws some 3,000 scientists to its meetings and courses.
In 2015, CSHL announced a strategic affiliation with the nearby Northwell Health to advance cancer therapeutics research, develop a new clinical cancer research unit at Northwell Health in Lake Success, NY, to support early-phase clinical studies of new cancer therapies, and recruit and train more clinician-scientists in oncology.