by Carole Walker
student Sergei Chuikov, RWJMS department of biochemistry,
working in the laboratory of Danny Reinberg, PhD.
If you take a leisurely stroll by the new research building
— shared by UMDNJ’s School of Public Health and
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School — you’ll be
struck by its stateliness. Located on the Piscataway campus,
between the Georgian-style Waksman Institute and the modern
Center for Advanced Biotechnology & Medicine (CABM), it
has a personality very much its own. Stone, glass and two
tones of red brick make the exterior look both fresh and imposing.
Go inside to see the soaring central atrium housing two dazzling
light-responsive sculptures by artist Ray King, which hang
on the east and west sides of the elevator tower. One is a
42-foot-high, 12-foot-wide double helix, suspended suspended
eight feet above the ground, containing nearly 10,000 glass
squares, which changes color as light passes through it. The
second sculpture, called the Pod, is a 40-foot-high structure
composed of refractive glass.
With its focus on laboratory research and education, the
building is configured to promote cross fertilization of ideas
among scientists. The research labs utilize modular casework
and equipment alcoves that maximize flexibility.
In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a
“road map,” 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
research enterprise. In keeping with the NIH plan, the new
building’s design supports research teams that work
across disciplines, with an emphasis on bioinformatics, structural
biology, stem cells, neurological disorders, gene expression,
heart disease, and breast and prostate cancers.