Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
The MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford dedicated a new wing, a 4,500-square-foot office complex, on Oct. 26.
Built at a cost of $1 million and paid for by MIT, the wing replaces temporary quarters that until now housed MIT's Northeast Radio Observatory Corp. Haystack atmospheric science department.
The move is intended to increase the synergy between the atmospheric science and astronomy groups.
The atmospheric science group, which does primarily National Science Foundation-funded research on the upper atmosphere and ionosphere, has been housed in office trailers for nearly 30 years. The researchers and administrators now have individual offices and meeting space.
Improved computer networking capability has allowed the group to make the half-mile leap up the road from the base of its two radar antennas and transmitter building to the Haystack administrative building. "We couldn't relocate to this spot until the technology allowed it," said John C. Foster, associate director of Haystack. "We've just lately allowed ourselves to move away from the transmitters and come up here."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 31, 2001.