The Duke Eye Research Institute pursues a three-part mission: patient care, research and education. The Institute’s exploration into cures for blinding eye diseases involves ‘translational research’—a continuous feedback loop that brings scientific research discoveries to clinical care, then takes clinical insights back to the lab to generate new research initiatives. Integrating these activities requires vigorous communication between researchers and clinicians. By reconsidering how the built environment catalyzes ground-breaking discoveries, the design employs interconnected and adjacent program spaces to accelerate the cyclical research process. An equipment room, walk-in refrigerator, a dark room and other shared areas are at the center of each laboratory level, leaving the light-filled outer perimeter for lab benches. Shared resource and amenity spaces and free circulation encourage interaction.