Press Release: UMass Dartmouth strengthens "Innovation Triangle" with opening of 22,000 square foot research facility
Date: April 6, 2007
The building, the first at UMass Dartmouth devoted entirely to research, strengthens an "Innovation Triangle" in southeastern Massachusetts that includes major research and development centers in New Bedford and Fall River. "Today, we celebrate more than the opening of a building," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said. "Today, we expand an Innovation Triangle that includes this core campus, the School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) in New Bedford, and the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center (ATMC) in Fall River as its cornerstones. This is the latest stage in a rapid evolution of our university and our region."
Joining Chancellor MacCormack for the ribbon-cutting and facility tour: UMass President Jack Wilson, UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen Tocco, UMass Dartmouth Provost Anthony Garro, several legislators, members of the business community, and a diverse array of research faculty and students. The ribbon-cutting and speaking program were followed by building tours during which visitors were able to view displays of research being conducted across the university.
"This new research building at UMass Dartmouth is the latest state-of-the-art facility opening on a University of Massachusetts campus, one that will enable our faculty and students to make further advances in the important area of biotechnology. During the past year, researchers at the University's five campuses have conducted more than $400 million worth of sponsored research, providing a boost to local economies throughout the Commonwealth and leading to new discoveries and inventions that have resulted in more than $27 million in additional revenue for UMass through technology commercialization," President Wilson said.
"Today's opening ceremony for a new research building on the UMass Dartmouth campus is great news for faculty and students here, as well as for everyone concerned about efforts to develop methods of treating and possibly curing the effects of botulism, a deadly bioterrorism threat," Chairman Tocco said. "The University of Massachusetts system is experiencing unprecedented activity in the construction of new facilities and the rehabilitation of many existing ones. The $2.3 billion capital plan approved last August by the University's Board of Trustees ensures that our campuses will keep pace with the increasing need for more and better laboratories, classrooms, dormitories and other essential facilities."
The new facility is critical to the University's strategy to play a central role in the development of the innovation economy in southeastern Massachusetts. The catalyst for the construction of the facility is a university research effort focusing on developing detection strategies, cures, and treatments for botulism, one of the leading bio-terrorism threats identified by the U.S. government. UMass Professor Bal Ram Singh, one of the nation's leading experts on botulism, leads the National Botulinum Center at the university and has been working on similar projects at the university for the last 17 years.
"We are all very excited about the opening of the new research building, which will support key research projects by Professor Singh and his collaborators and students in the Botulinum Research Center," said Provost Garro. "But in addition the facility adds laboratory space to support other faculty conducting research in the fields of molecular biology, cell biology and bioengineering. Without this space it would have been impossible to continue the growth of these critical programs on our campus."
The National Botulinum Research Center takes up 50 percent of the building and includes a BSL 3 laboratory, which provides enhanced safety and security to people working in the labs and to the public. The facility is regulated by the federal Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Center is collaborating with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, Federal Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Energy and private industry. The Center is also collaborating with the Charles Draper Laboratory in Cambridge and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) -- a consortium of several area hospital and institutions, including Mass General and MIT, Tufts University, UMass Lowell, Harvard Medical School, Newton Photonics, BioTell, and Microbiotix.
The Center's facilities will be accessible to researchers on the UMass Dartmouth campus working in the areas of biotechnology, biomaterials, and bioengineering. The Center will coordinate research with the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center in Fall River on bioengineering and biotechnology projects.
The facility will be available to researchers at biotechnology companies developing biodefense and biotechnology-based products, including biopharmaceuticals and biosensors.
The state-of-the-art building was designed by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, (www.ARCUSA.com), a nationally recognized architectural design firm specializing in educational, laboratory, and biotechnology facilities. The facility was built by Suffolk Construction, one of the leading, privately held, general building contracting firms in the country.