Commission Approves $49 Million Translational Science Building

|

On July 9, the State Building Commission approved the request for UTHSC to move forward with its new research building. The commission approved the proposed project cost of $49 million.

On July 9, the State Building Commission approved the request for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) to move forward with its new research building. The new facility will be constructed on the UTHSC main campus in Memphis and will be situated on the northwest corner of Manassas and Union. The commission approved the proposed project cost of $49 million.

“No state funds will be used to construct the new facility,” stated Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, executive vice chancellor and chief of staff for UTHSC. “We plan to institutionally fund the project, issuing bonds to cover the construction costs and populating the building with federally funded researchers and scientists. A portion of their funding will naturally be used to pay for the new laboratory space they will enjoy.”

The new structure has been dubbed the Translational Science Research Building since the plan is to fill the building with investigators from a number of UTHSC”s six colleges. “Our goal is to bring together investigators from different colleges and disciplines who have varying areas of specialty and a wide range of expertise. That”s a focal point of translational research, to break down the silos and barriers to encourage cross-pollination of disciplines and ideas,” Dr. Brown stated.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) is engaged in a series of initiatives, collectively known as the “NIH Roadmap for Medical Research,” which promote clinical and translational investigation designed to improve health and prevent disease. One of the NIH program goals is to transform the local, regional and national environment for clinical and translational science by increasing the efficiency and speed of the research process. Through Clinical and Translational Science Institutes around the country the NIH aims to break down the barriers that exist on campuses to facilitate interdisciplinary team science. Such efforts are designed to bring new therapeutics, vaccines and other treatments from “bench to bedside” (laboratory to community) at a much faster rate.

“The Health Science Center”s new Translational Science Research Building will position us on the leading edge and totally in synchronization with the scientific approach of the NIH,” observed UTHSC Chancellor Hershel P. Wall. “We will begin the design process for the new facility as soon as possible.” The new facility will be designed to connect, via an elevated walkway, with the existing UTHSC Cancer Research Building.