The Oak Crest Institute of Science is an innovative chemistry and biology research and education center where today’s scientists immerse a diversity of students of all academic levels in high-impact research, cultivating tomorrow’s scientists one individual at a time.
— Innovation Through Research —
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Oak Crest? Oak Crest Institute of Science is a 501(c)(3) non-profit active in chemistry and biomedical research, education and innovation. Think of us as “a research university at the size of a >22-year -old startup”. Oak Crest’s foundation is a team with unlimited curiosity for science, fearlessness in trying new approaches to problems, a passion for teaching this to the next generation of scientists and the public, and a desire to help others realize their ideas. Everything else flows from this and attracts more like-minded people.
- Where does the Oak Crest name come from? When Oak Crest was founded in 1998, we were focused on environmental research and education. The oak tree symbolizes teaching, learning, wisdom, and the environment. Crests occur on land, water, and in clouds, i.e., nature. Integrating the two, we came up with the Oak Crest Institute of Science, a name that represents our dual mission.
- What research does Oak Crest do? Our research is largely funded by competitive grants from federal funding sources (NIH, NSF, etc.). For example, our HIV prevention technology using a vaginal ring platform for drug delivery has gone through multiple rounds of development and funding by the NIH and entered phase 1 clinical trials in 2020. Our research projects are at the forefront of science and drive most of the activities at Oak Crest.
- Education? Is Oak Crest a school? We are not a school and do not grant degrees. Instead, we leverage our research and facilities to give students the opportunity to conduct applied research within our major research areas. This is typically the first time that students face open-ended research questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer.
- Do Oak Crest alumni pursue careers related to STEM? More than 80% of alumni from Oak Crest who graduated from their home institutions and then pursued the next highest educational level and/or career step in their chosen scientific or medical field. Their experience at Oak Crest prepares them to be safe, independent and productive in a laboratory environment, positioning them ahead of their peers in 4-year undergraduate programs.
- How many people do your programs serve? We give students and teachers a multitude of experiences. We give an opportunity to conduct hands-on laboratory experiments to more than 100 students annually. These events last from days to weeks depending on the specific program. In addition, we offer tours and workshops to more than a thousand students, teachers and the general public.
- What do you mean by innovation? Technological innovation lies at the interface between research and business. Scientific discoveries lead to opportunities to develop new commercial products or improve current ones. We have the capabilities and infrastructure to support external technologies by functioning like a CRO (contract research organization), to support new startups and their founders, and also transfer internal discoveries into startup companies.
- What sets Oak Crest apart from other research organizations? Our small size and multidisciplinary approach by necessity allows us to leverage and combine all the different puzzle pieces in unusual ways. This allows us to adapt quickly to new research and develop meaningful educational programs.