24, No. 12, Dec. 16, 2004
of Genomic Biology celebrates temporary home
Jim Barlow, News Bureau Staff Writer
The newly renovated lower level of the Animal Sciences Laboratory was
home to an unusual open house Dec. 8 in which officials hailed the space
as not just a research-ready basement but as “a staging space”
for the beginning of a long journey for the university.
The space will serve as a temporary home to the UI’s Institute
of Genomic Biology until its permanent $75 million facility is completed
across the street in mid 2006. When done, the 186,000-square-foot building
will facilitate collaboration between researchers and provide space
to advance technology transfer, education, and engagement with partners
in the field of genomic biology.
“From here begins the long journey that will take us just a short
distance across the street to our final home in a year and a half,”
said Harris Lewin, director of the IGB. “It is where we will test
our model for an interdisciplinary institute that aims to be among the
best in the world at using genomics to solve some of the more difficult
and sometimes controversial problems in biology.”
The renovated space in the Animal Sciences Laboratory was designed by
architects from CUH2A, a company that specializes in scientific facilities,
as part of a $2 million project jointly funded by the Office for the
Vice Chancellor of Research, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences and the department of animal sciences. CUH2A
is building the IGB facility.
When the IGB building is completed, the space will be available to animal
sciences, said department head Neal Merchen. For now, he said, “this
is a staging space for the IGB.”
More than 20 proposals from across campus were submitted for the eight
available IGB research themes that fall under three program areas. At
the open house, Lewin said the final theme, chosen a week earlier, is
“Precision Proteomics” to be led by Neil L. Kelleher, a
professor of chemistry. Kelleher’s 15-member team will use the
latest in mass spectrometry and fluorescence to probe the molecular
mechanics of DNA and proteins that regulate biological function and
provide early hints about human disease.
Seven other themes were announced previously.
The IGB already has 50 full-time faculty and another 47 affiliates,
all drawn from 29 departments and six colleges across the campus. Eventually,
the IGB will have up to 400 researchers studying various aspects of