10/13/2004

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Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855

KU to dedicate $7.4 million Structural Biology Center on Oct. 15

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas will dedicate its newest research facility, the Structural Biology Center, in ceremonies beginning at 10:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15. The center is directly west of the Simons Biosciences Research Laboratories on west campus.

"The Structural Biology Center represents a major step forward in KU's strategic plan for continued bioscience research success," said Jim Roberts, vice provost for research and president of the KU Center for Research. "The state-of-the-art instrumentation in the center is without parallel in the region and rivals the holdings of major pharmaceutical companies."

Speakers for the dedication will be Roberts; KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway; Reggie Robinson, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents; Robert Hanzlik, professor of medicinal chemistry; and Laura Lucas, postdoctoral researcher in pharmaceutical chemistry.

The primary instrument of the 17,000-square-foot center is the 800-megahertz magnetic resonance spectrometer. The spectrometer will allow researchers to learn more about how proteins interact with the human body and how those interactions can be used to develop new drugs. The center was designed around the environmental requirements to operate the spectrometer, Roberts said.

The center cost $7.4 million to build, including the cost of the spectrometer and other instruments. Bonds authorized by the Kansas Legislature provided $5 million of that total. The remaining $2.4 million was provided directly by the KU Center for Research, a nonprofit foundation designed to facilitate and increase research on the Lawrence campus, and the provost's office at KU. The KU Endowment Association donated land for the building.

Those invited to attend include U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts of Kansas; U.S. Reps. Dennis Moore (D-Lenexa) and Jim Ryun (R-Lawrence); Barbara Atkinson, executive dean and vice chancellor for clinical affairs at the KU School of Medicine; Clay Blair, member of the board of directors of the Kansas Bioscience Authority; Bill Duncan, president of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute Inc.; David VanderVelde, director of KU's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory; members of the Kansas University Endowment Association; and officials with Douglas County and the city of Lawrence.

"The center would not have been possible without the research leadership of Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback and the generosity of the KU Endowment Association for the donation of land for the building site," Jim Roberts said. "KU also wants to thank the Kansas Legislature for its support of bonds used to purchase instrumentation for the center."

Parking for the dedication is available at the Lied Center. Shuttle buses will be available. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive.

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