St. Jude's Planned Research Tower Will Draw Talent, Propel Discovery


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's recently announced plans to develop a $412 million advanced research center is expected to not only "propel discovery" and scientific breakthroughs but also attract top scientists and clinicians in pediatric biomedical research to the Memphis facility.

"The advanced research center will bring together a powerful combination of talent and technology in a space designed to propel discovery," said James R. Downing, MD, St. Jude president and chief executive officer. "We are creating an environment where scientists and clinicians will have ready access to leading-edge resources and opportunities to pursue breakthroughs in hopes of accelerating progress in treating and curing catastrophic pediatric diseases."

Plans are to break ground on the center this spring and open in 2021. The approximately 625,000-square-foot center will comprise eight floors - six of research labs and two for future expansion and evolving technology. The labs will focus on immunology, neurobiology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics, genomics, immunotherapy and RNA biology.

The center, which is a major component of a $1 billion capital expansion of the St. Jude campus, was developed by The Crump Firm, lead architect on the project; and Jacobs Engineering, experts in lab design. Both are Memphis firms

The St. Jude Strategic Plan also calls for hiring 1,000 additional faculty and staff across scientific, clinical and administrative operations at St. Jude.

Approximately 5,000 construction professionals and more than 125 vendors will be required to complete the advanced research center during the course of the three-year build-out. More than 75 percent of the positions and subcontractors are expected to be hired from the Memphis area.

In announcing its plans for the center, a statement from the hospital said, "The advanced research center builds on the St. Jude legacy of innovations for understanding and treating childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Architecturally, it will be an interactive and interdisciplinary environment designed specifically for generating new ideas and teamwork. Its labs and spaces will enable researchers to collaborate openly and across departments. The center will stream natural light through open atriums and courtyards and will feature numerous interaction zones uniting key disciplines of science."

"Every aspect of the advanced research center has been customized to inspire and support researchers who seek to lead and collaborate," said James I. Morgan, Ph.D., St. Jude scientific director and executive vice president. "We have committed critical resources to equip the brightest minds in science with the world's most sophisticated technologies and equipment so that we can continue to speed discoveries that will save children."Progress at St. Jude extends worldwide because of the organization's global collaborations and rapid sharing of results and knowledge.

"Through our international efforts, St. Jude is working to raise the survival rates of children with cancer worldwide by sharing knowledge, technology and organizational skills," said Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., St. Jude Global Pediatric Medicine chair and executive vice president. "The vital work that will occur in the advanced research center will help make improvements in the level and quality of care delivered around the globe."


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