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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 28, 2007

PHOTOGRAPH: High-resolution conceptual drawing of the UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery. Please note that this is a conceptual image only; actual design documents have not yet been prepared. For a high-resolution version of the image, click here or visit

Leaders break ground for Institute for Biomedical Discovery

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge today joined University of Iowa officials, state leaders and others for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of the future UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery.

The new facility, to be built next to the Carver Biomedical Research Building on the UI health sciences campus, will house laboratories and office space dedicated to cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research in the biomedical and life sciences, involving scientists from across the entire campus. The new building is part of a larger university effort to bring together scientists from multiple disciplines to pursue research leading to new treatments for patients, create new educational opportunities for students, and bolster Iowa's economy through new jobs and business partnerships.

"Today is not just about a new building, today is about hope," Culver said. "With this new facility, we'll be able to help countless people around the globe who suffer from illness and disease by turning their hope for a cure into a reality. This institute would not have been possible without the hard work of so many people, and the Lt. Governor and I are thrilled that our world-class researchers will now have the use of a world-class facility."

Culver and the Iowa General Assembly earlier this year approved $30 million in state appropriations -- $10 million each year in fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- for construction of the UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery (UIIBD). The exact cost of the new building has not yet been determined, but UI officials estimate that the UIIBD and its related programs will be approximately $120 million. Additional funding for the facility will come from the university, private gifts and federal support.

UI President Sally Mason praised the efforts that made the UIIBD possible.

"Today's ceremony is a celebration of a strong, forward-thinking partnership between the state of Iowa, the university, our federal delegation, and our alumni and friends," Mason said. "The Governor's Office, the Iowa Legislature and the entire Iowa federal delegation, under the leadership of Sen. Harkin, have demonstrated their commitment to biomedical research in Iowa -- research that offers promise for new discoveries and new cures, but also provides opportunities in education, training and economic growth."

A conceptual drawing of the UIIBD on display at the groundbreaking ceremony suggested a copper and limestone structure consisting of six above-ground levels, similar in size and design to the Carver Biomedical Research Building. The exact size of the building has not yet been determined, but officials envision an approximately 200,000-square-foot facility. In addition to laboratories and office space, an advanced imaging institute may be based in the new building. Other potential areas of study in the UIIBD include neuroscience, aging-related research and regenerative medicine.

"This new building is an investment in the future of the University of Iowa -- its research and clinical care programs, its faculty and staff, and its students," said Jean Robillard, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "But this is also about the future for Iowans -- in terms of better health care through advanced research, educational and employment opportunities in the sciences, and business and technology partnerships with the private sector."

A university-wide task force is examining UI biomedical and life sciences research programs and developing a plan to house select programs in the UIIBD that have high potential for advances in research, education and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Interdisciplinary research programs -- especially those that have the potential to translate laboratory discoveries into new treatments for patients -- are a top priority in terms of federal funding from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, noted Meredith Hay, Ph.D., UI vice president for research.

"The UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery is part of an overall effort to strengthen our ability to compete for these grants and other funding opportunities, but also attract and retain world-class faculty and students, and foster new collaborations and partnerships," Hay said. "Researchers today are moving beyond their traditional disciplines and pursuing new, cross-disciplinary approaches to science and medicine. That's where the greatest breakthrough potential exists, and that's where we want to be."

University officials will bid the UIIBD project in 2008, with construction expected to begin in late 2008 or early 2009.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5143 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Steve Maravetz, UI Carver College of Medicine, 319-335-8033,