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Private labs caught in budget crunch

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Biomedical-lab closure highlights plight of independent research institutes that rely heavily on federal grants. On the eve of a ballot that would dissolve his institution, Charles Emerson fell silent when asked how he would cast his vote. A combination of declining federal support and the economic downturn had left the Boston Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI) in debt. Frantic attempts to raise money — soliciting philanthropists, seeking partnerships with academic institutions, even renting out space in the BBRI building in Watertown, Massachusetts — barely made a dent. “I’m going to vote for dissolution,” the BBRI’s director finally said. “There is just no other way.”

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