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"The James L. Sorenson Molecular biotechnology Building - A USTAR Innovation Center was dedicated April 19, 2012. It is the first in the new multi-disciplinary research province that will link the western and eastern portions of the campus.," says Thomas Parks, University of Utah's vice president for research. "We expect that the excellent facilities will draw faculty and student researchers to collaborate on problems that are at the intersection of materials science, engineering and biomedical science."
The unique design of the building allows for open laboratory space and for researches to share equipment and facilities and was designed to promote interaction within the scientific community.
"The design of the facility will encourage collaboration among the various disciplines," says Richard Brown, dean of the College of Engineering. "It puts us among a select group of universities with the ability to develop the most advanced tools and will provide opportunities for us to compete for big multi-disciplinary federal programs that will not only fund cutting-edge research, but also enhance our visibility."
Much thought has gone into the location of the building, its design, its equipment, and other elements that encourage interaction and collaboration between experts across discipline. "The building site both physically and academically unites the health sciences campus with the main campus and its basic research resources. The building will bring talented people together to cross traditional boundaries and accelerate research at the interfaces of medicine, pharmacy, engineering, computer science and life sciences," said Dinesh Patel, managing director at Signal peak Ventures and chairman of the USTAR Governing Authority. "We intend the building to be at the crossroads of interdisciplinary translational research on campus and across the state.
Groundbreaking took place on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. commented, "USTAR resides at the heart and soul of everything we do i n this state...it is an exciting thing to do in this climate because it speaks to hope and to a state that's on the move."
The USTAR facility is part of the U of U's recently updated Campus Master Plan and will anchor a new research complex.
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation donated $15 million, and the building is named the "James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building - A USTAR Innovation Center." This follows a $1.25 million donation from the Micron Technology Foundation. The building is envisioned to be part of a four building interdisciplinary quadrangle located between lower and upper campus and acting as a central unifier between the work in the college of Engineering and the Health Sciences.