$74.4 Million Research Building Dedicated

Contact: Allison Elliott

Photo of BBSRB ribbon-cutting ceremony
(click photo to enlarge)
BBSRB ribbon-cutting ceremony

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The BBSRB utilizes an open plan design recently cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education as the new format of choice for research facilities at nationally prominent universities. Designed to encourage collaborative research and accommodate the expansion and contraction of research groups as funding shifts, the open plan laboratories occupy the first, second and third floors of the BBSRB.

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BBSRB Fact Sheet

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2005) -- The University of Kentucky today officially opened the $74.4 million Biomedical Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB), which will house some of the university’s leading researchers who bring millions of dollars in federal funding to UK.

Located on South Limestone, across from Kentucky Clinic, the structure houses 185,000 square feet of laboratory and work space for several prominent faculty scientists from the UK College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and College of Arts and Sciences.

“Our state universities are the economic development engines for Kentucky,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher. “The addition of the Bio medical Biological Sciences Research Building will generate a renewed spirit of excellence. Molecular medicine, spinal cord and brain injury research, and drug abuse treatment are vital areas for research. Having UK’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry recognized nationally as a top-20 program provides further incentive to continue meeting the challenges established by the Commonwealth.”

The BBSRB was funded by $39 million in state bonds and $26 million in agency bonds. The remaining $9.4 million was drawn from university funds.

"The BBSRB is more than just another building on our campus," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "It represents the University of Kentucky's commitment to becoming a top-20 public research university by solving some of Kentucky's greatest problems through research. In the most literal sense this is a laboratory for new ideas and discoveries, and is part of a promise to improve Kentuckians’ quality of life." 

Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac said of the new facility, “This project represents the joint commitment of UK and Lexington to foster an innovative and intellectual environment both on campus and throughout the community. Lexington and UK are moving forward together as leaders paving the way for Kentucky’s future.”

Research teams are in the process of transferring materials to BBSRB. When fully occupied, the building will house about 400 faculty, staff and students. They will include researchers from the UK College of Medicine Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, chaired by UK professor Louis Hersh; the Institute for Molecular Medicine directed by William Balke, the college’s senior associate dean; the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, directed by Edward Hall, professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology; and the Drug Abuse Treatment Research Program directed by Linda Dwoskin, professor in the UK College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The common thread binding these scientists together is the focus of their research on biomedical issues affecting humans. While they are absorbed in the work on their lab benches – observing cells, molecular interactions and chemical processes – they ultimately seek to understand what happens when the human body is injured, ill or addicted.

Their laboratory discoveries are the building blocks upon which future medical treatments will be founded. It is possible that a “eureka moment” in the BBSRB will lead to an advanced treatment for spinal injuries, a better understanding of the aging process, or a revolution in how doctors treat addiction.

The BBSRB utilizes an open plan design recently cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education as the new format of choice for research facilities at nationally prominent universities. Designed to encourage collaborative research and accommodate the expansion and contraction of research groups as funding shifts, the open plan laboratories occupy the first, second and third floors of the BBSRB.

Each of these floors also houses conference rooms, computer labs, and rooms for sample storage, low-temperature experiments, and other work requiring unusual environments. The basement houses a purpose-built animal diagnostic facility, while the fourth floor remains open pending the installation of specialized biomedical equipment to be partially funded by a $3.7 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources.


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