Robert Lue, 5.23.64-11.11.20

Ilyana Sawka/ November 24, 2020

We envision a world with equal opportunity for success in science for anyone, anywhere.
Robert Lue, Faculty Director and Principal Investigator
5.23.64-11.11.20

Access, empowerment, inclusivity, collective engagement…these are core values at the foundation of LabXchange. Reflecting on these today, I see them as both the results of what Rob and his amazing team built, but also as tenets of the build process. Rob believed that creating a real community is key: LabXchange brings together learners, instructors and scientists around high quality content. Rob’s legacy is one of dreaming big about improving the human condition and truly leveling the playing field for learners around the globe. I am honored to have called him a friend and will miss him sorely.
Eduardo Cetlin, President, Amgen Foundation

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Founding LabXchange

Two years ago, we embarked on a mission to transform science education through a free, open online learning platform. With the support of the Amgen Foundation and a network of students, educators, and researchers working alongside us as co-developers, we built LabXchange: a new approach to making skills-based science learning accessible and equitable.

When LabXchange launched in January 2020, we never imagined that COVID-19 would soon change how the world works, learns, and socializes. We never predicted that 2.5 million users across the world would embrace our project in a matter of months. And we never envisioned that in 2020, we would say goodbye to our founding faculty director, Dr. Robert Lue, who died on November 11th after a brief illness.

A long-time professor in Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a leader across the university, Rob was a dedicated teacher, leader, and innovator. He firmly believed that the world’s greatest challenges can only be solved when people of all ages, from different disciplines and diverse places, come together to share ideas and build collective solutions.

The events of 2020 have been a lesson in what is most valuable. Cherishing what matters most, treating others with kindness and respect, and striving to make a positive difference in the world. While we mourn the loss of our mentor, colleague, professor, and friend, our work continues and our passion is unshaken. LabXchange remains as dedicated as ever to making high quality science education available to the world, and as thankful as always to the LabXchange community for joining us on our mission.

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Innovating into the future

I learned so much from Rob. How powerful technology can be as a tool for teaching and learning. How that power doesn’t come from the fanciest of simulations, but from placing powerful yet simple tools in the hands of educators – and getting out of their way.

Rob not only imagined the future but created it. He was in the business of equipping, empowering and connecting educators and learners – and he was a master at it. He allowed us all to imagine greater possibilities. 

By creating spaces to bring people together – both online and in-person – he fostered a sense of shared purpose and belonging that was magnetic for those of us interested in social impact.

More than anything, he recognized that there is way too much potential in this nation and this world that we haven’t harnessed. That talent is universal but opportunity is not.  So he created opportunity, in a thousand different ways. It feels like he’s planted millions of seeds, and yet so many trees are just starting to grow.

Rob is no longer with us, and will be dearly missed. But his vision, his ideas, his mindset that anything is possible will live on. And given everything he’s set in motion, his legacy and impact – like all of those seeds – will only grow stronger in the years ahead.
Scott Heimlich, Vice President, Amgen Foundation

New to LabXchange? Here are two articles about Robert Lue:
Educator Spotlight: Robert Lue, Harvard University (Part 1)
Educator Spotlight: Robert Lue, Harvard University (Part 2)

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