Set in discrete spots throughout the Town Center, the technology-enhanced discovery niches are intended to attract the attention of casual visitors and serve as a destination for planned events. Faculty members, students and private sector collaborators are encouraged to submit ideas and content for the niches to ensure that the themes reflect emerging science.
Parkinson's disease exhibit
These items were part of the Town Center’s recent 3-D niche exhibit exploring a disorder that afflicts 10 million people worldwide. Another 60,000 patients are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. The disease is chronic and progressive, marked by severe tremors and loss of coordination. The exhibit stepped into this world, letting visitors examine diseased brain cells and grasp research that may one day lead to a cure.
While the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, the malfunction and death of neurons is key. Colorful displays examined this cellular breakdown, and guided visitors through the latest advancements in treatment and diagnosis. Glowing biomarkers, innovative brain surgery and fresh uses for old medicines all represent steps forward.
The niche also explored how UW–Madison researchers changed monkey skin cells into healthy neurons and transplanted them back into the same animal – a phenomenal breakthrough that could spark a new era of personalized regenerative medicine.
More hands-on, the niche invited visitors to compare healthy and diseased neurons under a 10x/22 microscope and listen to a speech recording. A stem cell mini-lab at the front of the niche allowed visitors to handle the tools used to grow human pluripotent stem cells in the lab.
Apply to Reserve Space
The main floor offers distinct spaces to meet different needs: With 40,000 square feet available, the main floor of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery can accommodate more than 1,200 guests. Known as the Town Center, the space may be divided to welcome groups of various sizes. View the Application Form.