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UAlbany Opens New Life Sciences Research Building
New facility dramatically expands the space and tools available to support
UAlbany scientists deciphering the molecular mysteries of life and disease

Contact: Michael Parker (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 13, 2004) -- The University at Albany officially opened its new Life Sciences Research Building (LSRB) today at the University’s uptown campus. The 194,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility dramatically expands the space and technology available to support a broad spectrum of life sciences research.

“This magnificent new building will gather the University at Albany’s leading research minds under one roof to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in the fields of biology, chemistry and bio-chemistry,” said State University of New York Chancellor Robert L. King. “This initiative is at the heart of our vision for the State University of New York. We owe our gratitude to Governor Pataki’s vision and the approval of the Legislature for their efforts in furthering research throughout the state.”

"The opening of the Life Sciences Research Building signals the next era of scientific research at UAlbany," said Interim President John R. Ryan. "This world-class facility will support star researchers and, importantly, attract new ones while promoting scientific collaboration and research synergy in New York’s capital region."

“The Life Sciences Research Building is the culmination of many years of planning by dedicated faculty members in the College and University administration officials,” said Dean Joan Wick-Pelletier of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It is an important step in our expanding initiative into timely research in the life sciences.”

The LSRB, designed by the Hillier Architecture group, provides a focus for collaborative interactions among research scientists representing a range of scientific disciplines, with emphasis on the structure, function and regulation of genes and biologically active molecules and materials. This research will be critical to deciphering the molecular secrets of life and disease and to designing new or more effective treatments.

Conceived as the centerpiece to the University at Albany’s Master Plan to build nationally-ranked strength in research, the LSRB was constructed with the goal of understanding and conquering major diseases and other serious afflictions, as well as grasping and ultimately directing the fundamental life processes. As construction began in the fall of 2001, the concentration on merging state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to lead researchers across an array of disciplines envisioned the manner in which scientific investigations of 21st century will be conducted.

The LSRB brings together scientists studying imaging, tissue culture, X-ray crystallography, bioinformatics and molecular modeling to push the frontiers of knowledge, and in turn attract and expand opportunities for top graduate students seeking an education grounded in the latest research technologies.

The new building features sophisticated core research facilities, with such equipment as a $1.6 million nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer used to elucidate the 3-D structure of proteins. Already operating is the bioinformatics core, a 75-node computer server cluster for research in computational biology and bioinformatics, supporting investigations in such areas as genome evolution statistics. The cluster provides processing capacity and enhanced multitasking ability, producing calculations roughly 150 times faster than UAlbany researchers’ current systems allow. LSRB laboratories are designed to foster collaborative investigations and research synergies among scientists.

In addition, the LSRB is equipped with a new high-tech auditorium, wired with data and power ports to every seat and equipped for teleconferencing and satellite broadcasting. The auditorium has been named in honor of Constance and Thomas D’Ambra in recognition of their $1 million gift, which launched the Life Sciences Research Initiative campaign. D' Ambra, who is chair, president and CEO of Albany Molecular Research, Inc., has served as chair of UAlbany's campaign to raise $20 million in private funding to support life sciences research.

"Connie and I are honored to be part of this important initiative," he said. "We believe that the University at Albany's impressive efforts to build research excellence in the sciences will continue to play a key role in building the economic strength of the Capital Region and in growing our local biotechnology industry throughout Tech Valley."

The $78 million facility, a visionary investment in the future of New York, was made possible by Governor George E. Pataki, the New York State Legislature, Chancellor Robert L. King, and corporate, foundation and individual supporters.

Related link: Life Sciences Research Initiative


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