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Oct. 21, 2008
Contact: Kevin Boatright, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, (785) 864-7240.

KU to dedicate Structural Biology Center; facility is the hub of west campus research

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas soon will open the latest addition to its expanding west campus research complex.

The Structural Biology Center is a $22.2 million, 44,000-square-foot core laboratory facility devoted to the advancement of biomedical and bioscience research. The original building was completed in 2004. Two new wings, under construction since 2006, will be publicly dedicated at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in the building’s atrium. A public open house will follow.

Among the dignitaries expected to attend the dedication are Sen. Pat Roberts, Rep. Nancy Boyda and Rep. Dennis Moore.

“The SBC is a tremendous asset for KU and our bioscience researchers,” said Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies. “The original building was a major and much-needed addition to KU’s research infrastructure. The new wings are an even greater investment, and the timing couldn’t have been better.”

One wing of the Structural Biology Center will house the recently announced Specialized Chemistry Center, backed by a five-year, $20.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The existence of the Structural Biology Center was a contributing factor to the success of the grant proposal. The other new wing was built specifically to support the labs and students of Blake Peterson, who joined the KU faculty this year as a Kansas Bioscience Authority “Eminent Scholar.”

The Structural Biology Center also houses an NIH-funded Center of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development and the High-Throughput Screening Laboratory. It also contains the Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics, an NIH-funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. All three biomedical research programs relocated this summer from KU’s Life Sciences Research Laboratory at 15th Street and Wakarusa Drive.

Together, these research initiatives alone have been awarded more than $60 million in NIH funding during the past decade. Programs in the original part of the Structural Biology Center have been awarded another $20 million since 2003.

“The SBC is the hub of the entire west campus,” said Warren. “It’s where all roads meet.”

The Multidisciplinary Research Building, dedicated in 2006, is a short walk away, as are the Higuchi Biosciences Center and the Biotechnology Innovation and Optimization Center.

“The new School of Pharmacy building will be just to the north, and across the street will be the planned Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Wet-Lab Incubator,” said Warren. “The core service labs in SBC potentially support all of this research activity. Together, it means KU can facilitate startup companies, collaborate with industry and pursue other kinds of commercialization. SBC is a tool for great research and an economic development resource for Kansas.”

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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