Taking a page from theoretical physics, scientists at the School of Medicine’s newest building will shorten the distance between two places—the bench and the bedside. “This is the future,” declared President Richard C. Levin at the October 5 ribbon cutting—a future shaped by interdisciplinary teams quickly translating basic science into clinical solutions.
The 120,000-square-foot building at 10 Amistad Street will house three programs—the Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics, the Human and Translational Immunology Program and the Yale Stem Cell Center. These programs, each of which draws on faculty throughout the university, were identified as crucial to the medical school’s strategic plan, said Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine. A lack of lab space, for example, had limited growth in vascular biology. The stem cell center needed facilities after Haifan Lin, Ph.D., a leading researcher, was recruited to initiate the program with the help of a $7.8 million grant from the state of Connecticut. And, Alpern said, the new facilities will “capitalize on our incredible strength in immunology.”
The $88.6 million structure is the latest to be built under a $1 billion plan to expand science facilities at Yale. The dedication came just as the university acquired 550,000 square feet of laboratory space at the Bayer HealthCare Company’s former headquarters in West Haven.
With workstations for more than 250 scientists, the building on Amistad Street offers sophisticated microscopy and technology for cell sorting and is environmentally sustainable. 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.
The day began with a symposium on translational and regenerative medicine. Salvador Moncada, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., director of the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, spoke on the role of nitric oxide in regulating mitochondria and cell bioenergetics. Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D., co-director of Harvard University’s Stem Cell Institute, outlined his research into the growth and development of pancreatic cells in humans and other vertebrates. Marc Feldmann, F.Med.Sci., director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College, London, gave a talk with an intriguing title, “Anticytokine Therapy: An Approach to All Unmet Medical Needs.” Feldmann and his colleagues proved that anticytokine therapy, which targets the overproduction of hormone-like proteins that regulate the body’s immune response, is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. “Every disease has its cytokine irregularities, and there should be therapeutic targets,” Feldmann said.
Feldmann’s vision of dramatically improved human health was endorsed by speaker after speaker, including Provost Andrew D. Hamilton, Ph.D. “This is going to be a place where great science is done,” he said.