A New Era for Caltech Biology

A New Era for Caltech Biology

A century ago, Caltech‘s first leaders provided generous support to discipline-defining biologists, and these researchers’ subsequent discoveries in genetics and molecular biology recast approaches to medicine and humanity’s understanding of life. Since then, Caltech has proved the success of this approach time and again, and its scholars have earned 10 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine.

Now, Caltech is constructing a superb facility that will launch another new era for the life sciences, with philanthropic support from Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen. This building, a hub for the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, had its groundbreaking on December 5, 2017.

On that occasion, attended by distinguished guests from around the world, Caltech leaders and Tianqiao Chen described what makes Caltech special and shared their vision for the future. Within the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Neuroscience Research Building, more than a dozen Caltech research groups will collaborate to develop life-changing treatments and new techniques and instruments to unlock the brain’s secrets. In addition, by creating room to grow, the new building will help Caltech provide state-of-the-art laboratories for scholars across biology and biological engineering. Expect breakthroughs.



The modern design of the Chen Neuroscience Research Building integrates all that we have learned about great spaces for research. Here, scientists will be able to move quickly between lab, desk, and whiteboard. Sunlit, open labs will be close to places where faculty, postdocs, and students can discuss their research. This arrangement encourages teamwork and sharing. Even specialized equipment will be conveniently located on site. And scientists from across campus and around the world will exchange ideas in the ground-floor conference facilities. The architecture will pair state-of-the-art labs with natural spaces for reflection, a time-honored Caltech tradition. We welcome you to explore the early concepts for this building and discover new opportunities to partner philanthropically with Caltech in making intellectual magic.

A Building Designed for Breakthrough Science


The Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Neuroscience Research Building will be the site where the unanswerable questions that change our relation to ourselves are posed and pursued. Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, William and Sonja Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics



Advance Discovery by Naming Spaces Individuals who aspire to promote world-changing research and innovation have opportunities to name key spaces in this vibrant facility. Now, as the construction is beginning, you can partner with Caltech to name places where future discoveries and encounters will change the course of science. Your gift to name a space in the Chen Neuroscience Research Building will honor Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen’s generosity and leverage their remarkable investment in the future. Please note that the images below, which show some of the nameable spaces in this building, are based on preliminary concepts.

Ground Level

Preliminary concept for the entrance to the upper garden

Upper Garden

The spacious upper garden will provide a peaceful destination for informal conversations and reflection, as well as a beautiful venue for special events. Naming opportunity: USD $10 million

Auditorium concept


The auditorium will provide a central learning space for members of Caltech’s scientific community as well as for conference participants and other campus guests. It will be used for large classes, public lectures, and scientific talks. Naming opportunity: USD $7 million

Preliminary concept for a portion of the lobby


The lobby is the most visible space in the Chen Neuroscience Research Building. By design, it will inspire the many people who pass through it every day as well as those who look through the building’s transparent entry from the well-traveled Moore Walk. Naming opportunity: USD $5 million

Preliminary concept for the breezeway


A covered outdoor passage, the breezeway will provide access to the auditorium and connect Caltech’s Moore Walk with a bridge to the upper garden. Naming opportunity: USD $4.25 million

Large conference room concept sketch

Large Conference Room

This conference room will host meetings of the entire faculty of Caltech’s Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, as well as large classes. Paired with the auditorium, it also will offer a new workshop venue for researchers from around the world. Naming opportunity: USD $1.5 million


Upper Levels

Writing desks in a research neighborhood

Research Wings

The north and east wings of the Chen Neuroscience Research Building’s upper floors will be configured as “research neighborhoods.” To promote interaction, each will house several world-leading research groups. Neighborhoods will contain customized laboratories as well as work space for students, postdocs, and staff. Desks for analyzing data and documenting experiments will border the labs. Specialized facilities will be located on site, instead of being housed farther away as is often done to reduce costs. Naming opportunity: USD $7.5 million each (four neighborhoods available to name)

Atrium concept


The magnificent, two-story atrium will provide a place to reflect, talk, and gain inspiration. Prominent art and the building’s dramatic spiral staircase will center the space. A wraparound balcony on the third floor will overlook it. Naming opportunity: USD $5.5 million

Preliminary outside view of the second and third floor cafe spaces


Glass-walled sitting areas in the southwest corner of each upper floor are among this building’s distinctive features. With kitchenettes and pleasant tables overlooking the palm trees that line Moore Walk, these “cafés” are sure to become popular places where faculty, students, and staff exchange ideas and news. Naming opportunity: USD $1 million each (two cafés available to name on the upper floors)

Conference room concept sketch

Conference Rooms

Conference rooms on the upper floors will be in daily use. Here, researchers will meet with their groups and with collaborating teams to share findings, talk about challenges, and plan bold new approaches. These rooms also will host classes and seminars that attract students and researchers from across Caltech. Naming opportunity: USD $125,000–$400,000 each (multiple conference rooms available to name)

Faculty office concept sketch

Offices for Professors

Prominently arranged around the interactive spaces on each floor, the faculty offices will help inspire world-leading scientists to do their best work. Naming opportunity: USD $150,000 each (13 offices available to name)


View Garden Level

View garden concept

View Garden

A beautifully landscaped green space extending along both wings of the Chen Neuroscience Research Building, the view garden will fill rooms with outdoor light and offer views of greenery, birds, and butterflies. Researchers and students will enjoy the garden as a serene place to sit, converse, and reflect. Naming opportunity: USD $1 million

Zebrafish lab concept sketch

Zebrafish Laboratory

Caltech researchers have transformed what we know about sleep, often through studies conducted with zebrafish. This special facility will advance scientific efforts to understand sleep—which still holds great mysteries to unlock. Naming opportunity: USD $2 million

Early teaching lab concept sketch

Teaching Laboratory

The teaching laboratory will provide hands-on experience for future leaders in neuroscience. Here, they will first explore the research subject that will provide them with lifelong joy and challenge—and a powerful way to benefit society. Naming opportunity: USD $1 million

Interior sketch of a cafe space


A  large sitting area with pleasant tables and a kitchenette, filled with light from the adjacent view garden, this “café” is sure to become a popular place for faculty, students, and staff to exchange ideas and news. Naming opportunity: USD $1 million

Neurotech lab entrance concept sketch

Bioinformatics Laboratory

The bioinformatics laboratory will gain renown as a place that develops essential new ways to use computation in biological studies. It will provide Caltech scientists with early access to the newest computational approaches. Naming opportunity: USD $600,000


Amounts indicated for naming opportunities are gift minimums and may change at Caltech’s discretion.



Discuss the Possibilities

Please email or call Noelle Gervais at Caltech to open a conversation about naming spaces featured above or other areas in this extraordinary building, a facility that will mark a new era in the pursuit of fundamental knowledge.

Hazel Breen
Senior Director of Development for Biology and Biological Engineering
+1 626-395-4223