Roger Adams Lab Ribbon Cutting

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday October 9th to celebrate the completion of phase one of the renovations of historic university building Roger Adams Laboratory. These upgrades, sponsored by the campus and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, took two years and $8 million to complete, and include massive infrastructure updates throughout two floors and the addition of new biomedical research laboratories.

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday October 9th to celebrate the completion of phase one of the renovations of historic university building Roger Adams Laboratory. These upgrades, sponsored by the campus and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, took two years and $8 million to complete, and include massive infrastructure updates throughout two floors and the addition of new biomedical research laboratories.

The ceremony, held at the beginning of Homecoming weekend, featured comments from Harry E. Preble Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences Ruth Watkins; I. C. Gunsalus Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology Stephen Sligar; Mrs. Mary Wraight, speaking on behalf of former Biochemistry Department Head Professor Colin Wraight; and Interim Head of the Department of Biochemistry Professor Susan Martinis.

Also in attendance were honored alumni guests Dr. Keith Westcott and Ms. Janice Turner, along with Mary Jane and Norman Beasley.

Following the cutting of the ribbon, Professor David Shapiro gave a tour of part of the new laboratory space. Professor Shapiro’s laboratory has developed a new platform for both fundamental research and discovery of new drugs. Using this system, they identified a compound with significant clinical potential that blocks the estrogen-dependent growth of breast cancer cells that are resistant to tamoxifen and other current drugs.

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Biochemistry Professors Dr. Raven Huang and Dr. Satish Nair then showed the new facility built to house the department’s X-ray diffractometer, which is used to analyze the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules. Drs. Huang and Nair utilize this instrumentation to help advance the development of new human therapeutics, and to search for alternative energy sources.

This first stage of the projected five-stage, $30 million plan focused on the revitalization of research laboratories and research support spaces that will have an immediate impact on biochemical research.  In addition, work in this phase accomplished critical building infrastructure upgrades to support the remodeled spaces and to facilitate work in future phases.

Rebuilt laboratories on the third floor, and the groundwork for upgrading fourth floor lab spaces, will be of enormous benefit for the continuing stature of Department of Biochemistry.

The new construction brings the infrastructure of this historic building into line with cutting-edge research to facilitate continuing ground-breaking discoveries and translational biomedical research for the benefit of human health and welfare.

As former Biochemistry Department Head Colin Wraight — instrumental in the fruition of the $8 million project — relayed in his speech, “…completion on this Phase opens up further possibilities for restoring a true core to the department’s being. It is a signal moment for us, and bodes well for the future.”

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LAS News

October 15, 2009 All News