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Construction is well underway on the new James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Buildingon the campus of the University of Utah. This USTAR Innovation Center will house the laboratories and offices of several Nano Institute members and the new home of the College of Engineering's Nanofabrication Laboratory. The NanoFab is under the direction of the Nano Institute's Co-director, Dr. Florian Solzbacher. For information about the NanoFab's clean room in the new facility, view their news article.
Construction of the 200,000 square foot facility should be complete in 2012. Funds for design and construction were generously given by the Sorenson Legacy Foundation as well as the Micron Technology Foundation and the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR). USTAR also played a key role in the development of this facility as well as hand picking expert research teams to occupy it.
A very timely trend in grant funding is a focus on interdisciplinary research that bridges the gap between the physical and health sciences and engineering to translate more quickly to the clinic or industry. The physical placement of this facility on the campus of the University of Utah follows suit. The University has long been divided both physically and culturally between “upper” and “lower” campus, upper campus being the health sciences area, and lower campus being “main” campus where in addition to the arts, humanities and business departments, the physical sciences and engineering departments are also located. The Molecular Biotechnology Building is situated directly between the two campuses and is meant to symbolize the closing of that divide.
The groundbreaking was on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, which was very appropriate given that the building will be highly energy efficient. For more details of the construction design, read this article from USTAR's innovationutah.com website. The building's architects also posted this fascinating “flythrough” video of the new building on YouTube.