For Release on Oct. 24 at 10 a.m.
Contact: Susan Preston
Piscataway Campus Ceremony Marks Opening of
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Research Building
and UMDNJ-School of Public Health Building
Academic leaders and public officials lauded the research, educational
and economic development benefits of the new UMDNJ-Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School Research Building and UMDNJ-School of Public
Health Building at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony today
(October 24) in Piscataway, New Jersey. The $45 million, 120,000-square-foot
building is part of the University of Medicine & Dentistry
of New Jersey's (UMDNJ) statewide five-year $535 million capital
campaign to support research, education and clinical care.
"We expect that with this new building, and the other capital
projects in the pipeline, we will easily exceed our goal of doubling
research growth by 2004," said Dr. Stuart D. Cook, UMDNJ president.
"In fact, over the past four years, UMDNJ funding from the National
Institutes of Health has increased at a faster rate than all other
universities nationwide, and the National Science Foundation has
ranked UMDNJ the number one research university in New Jersey
based on federal expenditures."
The building dedicated today houses 27 state-of the-art scientific
laboratories for UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School scientists
occupying 90,000-square feet of the building. The building provides
30,000-square feet of space for classrooms, laboratories and offices
of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, the first school in the
nation to be accredited as a collaborative school of public health.
The facility also contains an imaging suite and a nuclear magnetic
The new building was designed to link the two schools with a
soaring central atrium that offers the opportunity for researchers
to interact and share ideas that may lead to interdisciplinary
partnerships and collaborative discovery. Two dazzling light-responsive
sculptures, created by artist Ray King, are the centerpieces of
With its focus on laboratory research and education, the building
-- in both form and function -- reflects the goal of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) to redirect the emphasis of its research
grant recipients to three main areas: new pathways to discovery,
research teams of the future, and re-engineering the clinical
In keeping with the NIH plan, the new building's state-of-the-art
design and high- technology equipment will support multi-disciplinary
research teams and scientific discovery in fast-evolving fields
such as bioinformatics, structural biology, stem cell transplantation,
neurological disorders, biochemistry, gene expression, heart disease,
and breast and prostate cancer.
"Biomedical science is the major science of the 21st century,
and quality physical space is a critical tool for scientists to
study molecular and genetic approaches in order to advance our
understanding of diseases and translate this knowledge from laboratory
to human health," said Dr. Harold L Paz, dean of the UMDNJ-Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School. "This new building is an important
component of the medical school's strategic plan to emerge among
the top echelon of academic medical centers nationwide. It will
help us attract the best scientists to join our faculty and the
brightest students to enter our medical education programs."
Prior to the opening of the new facility, the five divisions
of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health program had been scattered
in four locations in Piscataway and New Brunswick. The school
also has divisions at the Newark and Stratford campuses of the
university. The new location in proximity to the medical school
and several major research institutes supports the school's master's
and doctoral dual-degree programs on the Piscataway campus and
enhances its ability to work together to respond to new public
health initiatives related to the threat of bioterrorism and the
growing potential for global outbreaks of new infectious diseases.
Dr. Audrey R. Gotsch, dean of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health,
said, "Although we are the newest school of the university, our
public health research expertise already has been recognized by
our peers nationwide as a vital component in the new world in
which we find ourselves--whether in the wake of the events of
9/11 or the post-SARS outbreak."
As part of the dedication day events, the two schools hosted
a scientific symposium, "Building Molecular Pathways to the Future,"
which included presentations by six leading faculty scientists
and was chaired by Dr. Sidney Pestka, chairman of the Department
of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology, and Immunology at UMDNJ-Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School and recipient of the 2001 National
Medal of Technology.
At a reception held following the scientific symposium, New
Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Dr. Clifton
Lacy, a 1979 graduate of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, addressed
alumni and friends of the scientific community.
On Thursday (October 23), the two schools hosted the 5th Annual
Research Day, which featured posters and presentations by medical
students, graduate students, clinical fellows, post-doctoral fellows,
and faculty of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and UMDNJ-School
of Public Health. Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Wieschaus, a faculty
member at Princeton University and adjunct faculty member at UMDNJ-Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School, was the keynote speaker.
In addition to this building, a
20,000-square-foot scientific research annex was opened on the
Piscataway campus in 2002 to address a critical shortage of laboratory
space for the medical school's scientists. The capital construction
plan for the Central Jersey campus also includes two major projects
in New Brunswick, a 150,000-square-foot expansion of The Cancer
Institute of New Jersey, and a new 150,000-square-foot building
to house the Child Health Institute of New Jersey. When completed,
the plan will have resulted in 556,500-square-feet of new or renovated
space for Central Jersey for a total cost of more than $200 million.