“This is the future,” declared Yale President Richard C. Levin at the October 5 ribbon cutting for the medical school’s newest building, a 120,000-square-foot structure at 10 Amistad Street that will house the Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics (VBT), the Yale Stem Cell Center (YSCC) and the Human and Translational Immunology (HTI) Program. The $88.6 million building is the latest to be built as part of a $1 billion plan to expand science facilities at Yale.
The research done in the three programs that will occupy the new facility, each of which draws on faculty throughout the university, was identified by a strategic planning committee in 2004–2005 as crucial to the medical school’s long-term goals, said Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine.
The VBT program, established in 2000, was the School of Medicine’s first official venture in translational research, which aims to convert laboratory findings into practical treatments for human disease as rapidly as possible.
Directed by William C. Sessa, Ph.D., the program counts 35 faculty members drawn from numerous basic science and clinical departments who focus on the role of vascular biology in heart disease and peripheral vascular diseases, cancer and stroke. Program scientists also search for ways to improve outcomes in organ-transplant patients. The new location on Amistad St. will give the program much-needed lab and office space for expansion.
The new building is the first real home for the YSCC, launched in 2006 by leading stem-cell researcher Haifan Lin, Ph.D., professor of cell biology and YSCC director, with the help of a $7.8 million grant from the state of Connecticut. In addition to hiring new faculty to occupy labs in the Amistad St. building, Lin and associate director Diane S. Krause, M.D., Ph.D., professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, are coordinating the efforts of more than 30 additional faculty members across the medical school and Yale University campuses who are working on stem cell-related topics, including the properties and mechanisms of human embryonic stem cells, human adult stem cells, and stem cells in model organisms such as the mouse, fruit fly and nematode.
With the inclusion of the HTI program, Alpern said, the new facilities will “capitalize on our incredible strength in immunology.”
Under the leadership of Jordan S. Pober, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, immunobiology and dermatology, the HTI faculty will study the immunologic aspects of a very broad range of human diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases (including endocrine diseases such as Type 1 diabetes), rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.
With workstations for more than 250 scientists, the building on Amistad St. offers sophisticated microscopy facilities and advanced technology for cell sorting. The building is also environmentally friendly. Designed by Herbert S. Newman and Partners, a New Haven-based firm, with lab spaces planned by Ellenzwieg Associates of Cambridge, Mass., the building features lights that turn off automatically, rainwater collection and other “green” features.
At a symposium on translational and regenerative medicine held to celebrate the building’s opening, Yale Provost and Silliman Professor of Chemistry Andrew D. Hamilton, Ph.D., summed up the sentiment of the day. “This,” he said, “is going to be a place where great science is done.”