New center, length of 3 football fields, is devoted to translational medicine
SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 13, 2011) — The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio today dedicated the South Texas Research Facility (STRF), a $150 million center of discovery, scientific collaboration and translational medicine.
“Today we open the doors to a future of discoveries in the neurosciences, cancer and healthy aging,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center. “I am confident that breakthroughs will occur in this building to make lives better.”
Translational medicine is the core concept of the STRF. Teams of clinicians and Ph.D. scientists will generate research breakthroughs to be tested clinically with the goal of increasing the armamentarium of standard care, said Francisco González-Scarano, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs for the Health Science Center.
Economically, the STRF brings a sizable benefit to San Antonio. It enables the Health Science Center to begin recruiting 15 to 20 new lab teams of eight individuals each. “I fully expect the STRF to become one of our city’s great economic engines as well as a source of curative discoveries,” Dr. Henrich said. “These are well-paying, professional jobs for the city.”
Funds to build the STRF included $60 million in tuition revenue bonds approved by the Texas Legislature in 2006, $40 million from the Permanent University Fund, $40.7 million in grants and gifts, and $3.3 million from the city of San Antonio.
The platform guests included Texas House Speaker Joe Straus; Sen. Leticia Van de Putte; Wm. Eugene “Gene” Powell, chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents; and Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., chancellor of the UT System.
One of the largest and most energy-efficient research buildings ever erected in Texas, the three-story STRF is approximately the length of three football fields. The building features an open laboratory design to foster interactions among researchers, sparking new ideas and directions of study, said David S. Weiss, Ph.D., vice president for research at the Health Science Center. Dr. Weiss is also dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and vice dean of basic science research in the School of Medicine.
The STRF is located at 8403 Floyd Curl Drive in the South Texas Medical Center. Rafael Viñoly Architects designed the building and Vaughn Construction was the contractor. The ground floor of the STRF includes entry points where researchers can meet on their way up to lab spaces and offices on the second level. All laboratories and shared facilities such as tissue culture rooms are on the second floor. Labs are open, shared spaces by design. Core research facilities such as an optical imaging center are in a central location to the laboratories. The third floor houses a bioinformatics core and offices of the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, home of the South Texas Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). The South Texas CTSA, a regional consortium of the Health Science Center and 11 partners, provides $26 million in infrastructure support, scientific training and research enhancement to speed translational and clinical research.
The Greehey Academic and Research Campus, site of the STRF, is named for Bill and Louree Greehey, whose family foundation donated $25 million to the Health Science Center in 2007. The STRF is in close proximity to the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center, the longtime premier academic cancer center in San Antonio and one of the elite centers to be designated a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center. The new building is also across Floyd Curl Drive from the Medical Arts & Research Center, primary location of UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine. The Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, named for the Greehey family, and the Robert F. McDermott Clinical Science Building, with its famed Research Imaging Institute, are steps away.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.