October 18, 2010

Doisy Research Center: Towering Beacon of Hope

Striking Facility Is Testament to SLU's Commitment to Research

ST. LOUIS -- The gleaming Edward A. Doisy Research Center, a strikingly modern 10-story structure of glass and steel, soars above the midtown St. Louis landscape. The eye-catching anchor and focal point for Saint Louis University Medical Center boldly proclaims SLU's commitment to research.
A view of SLU's Doisy Research Center

The scientists who work in state-of-the art laboratories within the Doisy Research Center share a pledge to fight human suffering as they search for lifesaving vaccines, cures and treatments for a broad range of diseases.

For many students, academic research is part of the Saint Louis University experience. SLU has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as one of a handful of Catholic universities that is "research extensive."

Gateway to Medical Center

Situated at Grand Boulevard and Choteau Avenue at the northern gateway to the University's Medical Center, the 206,000-square-foot building is named after the late Dr. Edward A. Doisy, a Nobel laureate and professor at Saint Louis University for five decades. Doisy was internationally recognized for his pioneering work in the field of biochemistry and his discovery of vitamin K and its chemical nature.

University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., has called the Doisy Research Center "the most significant building project in the modern SLU era" and an effort that, in every way, "honors the memory of a pioneering scientist and researcher."

"The work being done in the Doisy Research Center will touch many lives far beyond the walls of this structure and will keep Saint Louis University on the forefront of cutting-edge medical research," Biondi said.

The 162 scientists in the Doisy Research Center are working on five key areas of scientific discovery: cancer and molecular biology; liver disease; cardiovascular disease; neurosciences and aging; and vaccine development.

Inspiring creativity

The building's very design is aimed at furthering scientific progress and inspiring creativity and collaboration. The 80 research labs on eight floors have a flexible design, with many of them open so researchers from complementary fields can share knowledge as they work on experiments. 

The Doisy Research Center does more than simply propel scientific and biomedical progress. By giving researchers laboratory space worthy of the lifesaving discoveries they make, the facility boosts SLU's ability to attract and retain the brightest and most promising faculty.

Moreover, the building is another huge step forward in the University's effort to revitalize the Midtown neighborhood of St. Louis, where SLU has invested more than $840 million during the last two decades.

The building itself forms the eastern anchor of CORTEX -- the Center of Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange -- an initiative to develop a nationally recognized life sciences industry in the corridor between SLU and Washington University in St. Louis.

Environmentally friendly

Because the Doisy Research Center is dedicated to improving people's health, it's fitting that the facility is environmentally friendly in design, construction and operation. LEED-certified as a green building, the Doisy Research Center integrates environmental awareness in day-to-day operations.

The design itself features walls of windows that flood the building interiors with natural light, saving energy and promoting well-being among the researchers and technicians.

Its energy-efficient heating and cooling system contains no chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, considered harmful to the environment. A "green roof" -- with low-growing vegetation that requires little care or water -- was planted on a two-story roof extension to help stabilize temperatures inside the building.

The building also includes bike racks, showers and locker rooms for people who ride bicycles to work. Priority parking is available for those who drive alternative-fuel cars.

Recycled steel, concrete, carpeting and other floor finishes, and materials from rapidly renewable sources such as bamboo and cork were used throughout the building. During construction, steel, brick and other materials were removed and recycled during the demolition of previous buildings.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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