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Breaking New Ground: Biomedical Research Tower on Horizon

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State University Medical Center will celebrate the launch of construction of a $151 million Biomedical Research Tower by hosting a week of events from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 highlighting innovative medical research and the economic benefits the tower’s new research activities will bring to Ohio.

Biomedical Research Tower
Architectural rendering of the north elevation of the Biomedical Research Tower
The week’s events include a keynote address by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Thomas Cech and a groundbreaking ceremony for the Biomedical Research Tower, to be located on West 12th Avenue in the heart of the health sciences campus.

“We’re breaking ground on a building that signifies a new era in scientific discovery that will lead to improved medical therapeutics and successful technologies, enhancing quality of life through the development of new life-saving techniques and by fostering economic growth,” said Dr. Fred Sanfilippo, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at Ohio State. “Our investment in a facility of this magnitude sends a strong signal that Ohio State University is poised to support the most advanced biomedical research programs in the world.”

In keeping with the week’s theme, “Discovery: The Foundation for the Future,” Cech, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will deliver a talk titled “From Catalytic RNA to Howard Hughes” on Oct. 1 (see details, below). He received the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Sidney Altman of Yale University for the discovery that RNA in living cells can function as an enzyme, a biocatalyst that facilitates a chemical change without being changed itself. Previously, all enzymes were thought to be proteins. His address is sponsored by the university’s Office of Research as part of the University Research Lecture Series.

University and OSU Medical Center leaders will gather on Oct. 2 to officially break ground for the Biomedical Research Tower in the 400 block of West 12th Avenue in a ceremony that also will feature interactive biomedical research displays and a retrospective of biomedical research achievements at the medical center.

A Center for Knowledge Management Open House on Oct. 1 will feature hands-on demonstrations of medical education technologies and exhibits of the services of the center, which places all multimedia and library components of the Medical Center under one roof in the Prior Health Sciences Library.

And the entire week will be marked by a series of lectures featuring some of OSU Medical Center’s most renowned scientists on topics ranging from genetics and cell behavior to imaging and experimental treatments. “Featuring the ongoing work of Medical Center faculty throughout the week serves as an important reminder that we have a strong foundation on which to base our future research efforts,” noted Dr. Caroline Whitacre, associate vice president for health sciences research and vice dean for research in the College of Medicine and Public Health.

Projected to open in 2006, the Biomedical Research Tower nearly doubles the amount of biomedical research space on campus and provides a centralized facility for educating OSU students. Research conducted in the building is expected to attract significant extramural financial support, patents and licensing opportunities. The research tower also is expected to have a major impact on the Ohio economy, generating an estimated $3.7 billion and 17,000 new jobs during its first 10 years in operation. A schedule of events and a Biomedical Research Tower fact sheet are attached.

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OSU Biomedical Research Tower Fact Sheet

Projected Completion: December 2006

Facility details

- Approximately 372,000-square-foot facility with 248,000 assignable square feet, including 151,000 square feet of lab and lab support space, and 41,800 square feet of office space

- Research laboratories dedicated to experimental therapeutics (cancer), heart and lung disease, neurobiology of disease, imaging, microbial pathogenesis, pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, diabetes, structural biology and tissue engineering

- Core labs comprising 28,000 square feet for shared use in genomics, proteomics, mass spectrometry, bioinformatics, viral vector, flow cytometry, histology, cryogen storage, light microscopy, electron microscopy, tissue engineering, X-ray crystallography and cytogenetics

- Faculty and administrative offices for 800 university employees, including 122 faculty and their teams

- 250-seat auditorium plus seminar rooms and café


- The 400 block of West 12th Avenue with a bridge connector to the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute

Funding sources

- Bonds issued through the university for $126.8 million will be the predominant funding source for construction. Indirect costs generated from extramural funding will significantly offset the facility’s debt service

- Private philanthropic support of $24 million to cover remaining costs

- University support


- Advance Ohio State’s internationally recognized research programs in cancer and cancer genetics, cardiovascular and lung disease, and high-field imaging as well as to bring to national and international prominence OSU’s biology, biotechnology and biomedical informatics programs

- Expand programs in important emerging fields such as neurological disorders (examples: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease), heart failure and heart imaging, pharmacogenomics and targeted molecular therapies, microbial pathogenesis and biodefense, and tissue engineering

- Retain the high-caliber research corps present at Ohio State and attract individuals of outstanding scientific ability to OSU

- Provide for current and expanding research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency and others

Anticipated impact

- Translate scientific discovery to advanced patient care in the most timely, cost-efficient manner possible

- Bolster the state’s economy by creating approximately 17,000 new jobs and bringing $3.7 billion to Ohio during the next 10 years

- Open opportunities within the university for commercialization of intellectual property and development

- Attract and retain internationally recognized scientists and educators

- Enhance the quality of the research, teaching and patient care environment that fosters intellectual and professional growth

- Foster the development of academic programs that establish OSU as a leader among public universities

- Serve as visible symbol of the university’s commitment to world-class research