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Groundbreaking ceremony set as construction begins on IU neurosciences research facility


The Indiana University Neurosciences Research Building, scheduled to open in 2014, will complete the second phase of the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center at West 16th Street and North Senate Avenue. 

The research building will provide IU School of Medicine scientists, including researchers from the Institute of Psychiatric Research and the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, with state-of-the-art facilities in which to conduct a broad range of neuroscience research in fields such as neurotrauma, dementias, addiction, epilepsy and pain.

Significantly, the research building will adjoin the ambulatory care and imaging center of the IU Health Neuroscience Center, which is nearing completion. The combined facility will encourage collaboration among scientists and clinicians in ways meant to speed research findings to the clinic and to ensure that patients and their physicians have access to the latest discoveries and experts in a broad range of specialties.

Together the neuroscience research building, with 138,000 square feet of space, and the ambulatory care and imaging center, at 270,000 square feet, will create a hub of expertise in neurosciences for researchers, doctors, patients and future physicians in training.

“Neuroscience research is a key priority for both Indiana University and our partners at Indiana University Health, and the construction of what will be an extraordinary facility will result in one of the greatest concentrations of neuroscience research and clinical talent in the country,” said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. “The collaborative, ground-breaking work that this new center will foster has the potential to affect the lives of people across Indiana and around the world in a tremendously positive way and is another example of the vital role Indiana University plays in the growth and health of this state.”

“This research facility will further strengthen the collaboration between our world-class researchers and clinicians, and open the door to innovative, cutting-edge treatments and therapies that will benefit future generations of Hoosiers,” said IU Health president and chief executive officer Daniel F. Evans, Jr.    

“The start of work on this new research building is the culmination of a longstanding vision for a center that will bring together the talents of neuroscientists in many fields to work closely with each other and with their colleagues providing patient care,” said D. Craig Brater, dean of the IU School of Medicine. “It also will provide a fertile ground for future physicians to learn in an advanced, collaborative environment.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater in the lower level of the Campus Center, 420 University Blvd., starting at 1 p.m.

During the ceremony, President McRobbie will bestow an honorary doctor of science degree upon Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D., an Indiana native who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1998.

A DePauw University graduate who also studied at IU and received his M.D. and Ph.D degrees at Case Western University, Dr. Murad is University Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at George Washington University. In awarding the Nobel to Dr. Murad and colleagues, the Nobel committee cited their investigations into nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system, eventually demonstrating how nitroglycerin and related drugs dilate blood vessels.

The neurosciences research building was designed by BSA LifeStructures, an Indianapolis architecture and engineering firm. Messer Construction Co. of Cincinnati is the construction manager.

The cost of construction is $52 million, including $35 million in funding from the state of Indiana, and the remainder from Indiana University and IU School of Medicine funds.

The building has been planned to make flexible research space available to interdisciplinary research teams with a disease focus, rather than assigning space according to traditional academic departments.

The exterior of the building is designed to have an efficient skin primarily of glass that will both provide natural light inside and support efforts to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification.

Construction of the research facilities comes amidst numerous developments demonstrating the continuing commitment, investment and expertise by the Indianapolis area life sciences community. For example, in November the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center at the IU School of Medicine received its fifth consecutive and largest five-year federal grant award of $9.1 million. In April IU School of Medicine and IU Health announced the $150 million Strategic Research Initiative with neurosciences a key research focus. IU School of Medicine scientists are playing key roles in a new groundbreaking national project to sequence the complete genomes of all participants in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. And in July the School of Science at IUPUI announced it had established a new undergraduate degree in neuroscience.