The ribbon was cut for the grand opening of the MSU Bio Engineering Facility on Thursday, a project that has been in the works since 2013.
The 130,000-square-foot facility will be used as a lab and research building for scientists across many MSU colleges, namely the colleges of Engineering, Human Medicine and Natural Science, to collaborate. The goal of the building is to create a shared space for scientists of different disciplines to come together to solve complex medical issues, director of the new building Chris Contag said.
“The disciplines are growing to the point where they are intersecting with other disciplines,” Contag said. “And so the frontiers of discovery are not just where one discipline hits the unknown, but where the junction of multiple disciplines come together.”
It will house MSU’s brand new Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences and Engineering, which has been given a shorter name: IQ, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“As you imagine what’s going on in this building, in the future, imagine this: biologists, engineers, physicists, computer scientists, chemists, physicians all walking into the unknown, each bringing their own unique skill set as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime,” Contag said.
Contag will be named the chairperson of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the inaugural director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences and Engineering. His appointment is pending approval from the Board of Trustees, but is slated to begin Nov. 1.
On Oct. 28, he is scheduled to be honored by the Board of Trustees as the first John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“It’s not science fiction,” Contag said. “This reality in IQ is going to create the future. IQ will be a special place for really amazing scientists. When I look at this building, I see a future for young scientists and I see solutions for unsolved mysteries.”
In attendance of the grand opening ceremonies were Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Ferguson, Provost June Pierce Youatt and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.
“Everyone has talked about this building, and yes, that is very special,” Simon said. “But I wish, in some ways, that this building did not have walls. Because the role of IQ, the role of this building is a symbol of collaboration across the campus. Across the state. Across the country.”
Also in attendance were researchers who will be using the facilities, like MSU postdoctoral student Laura Szkolar-Sienkiewicz. She was recruited to move to MSU all the way from Manchester in the United Kingdom to work and research within the state-of-the-art facilities the Bio Engineering Facility will hold.
“When I heard that they had a new building coming here, it was an obvious next step (for me),” Szkolar-Sienkiewicz said. “I’m looking forward to having lots of different experts in the same place.”
The building was slated to finish in November or December of 2015, but construction was delayed. The project is reported to have cost $60.8 million.
“If you’re a student looking at maybe a future in research, this is a really great place to come,” Szkolar-Sienkiewicz said. “There’s lots of new expertise here. It’s a really exciting time to be at MSU.”
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