Branstad, Reynolds meet with UI shared governance leaders, tour new building
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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds visited the University of Iowa campus today, Tuesday, May 20, to meet with shared governance leaders and faculty involved in entrepreneurial work. During the visit, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds toured the new John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB), which is scheduled to open in June.
"I'm very impressed," Branstad said. "What a great facility this is to attract top scientists and create an entrepreneurial environment."
—Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
The $126 million facility contains six floors of research labs with 256,000 square feet of space, including 31,000 square feet of shelled space underground that eventually will be used for research support space.In keeping with the UI's commitment to sustainability, the green design of PBDB will enable the university to seek LEED Gold certification for the building.
The Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building is named in recognition of long-time UI supporters John and Mary Pappajohn, who committed $26.4 million to the new interdisciplinary biomedical research institute housed within the facility.
Gov. Branstad takes a peek at a room still under construction.
One and a half floors of the facility will be dedicated to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, as well as research into a parallel epidemic, obesity. The center is named in recognition of the $25 million commitment from the Fraternal Order of Eagles to establish a premier research institute focused on advancing knowledge of diabetes and its complications through cutting edge research.
The state of Iowa provided initial funding of $30 million for the PBDB. Federal grants and UI Health Care gifts and earnings provided additional support toward a total capital cost of $126 million.
In addition to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, the building will also be home to several thematic research areas with an overarching goal of creating a collaborative research environment that fosters innovation:
- Francois M. Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center
- University of Iowa Neurosciences Institute
- University of Iowa Auditory Research Program
- University of Iowa Lung Biology Center
- The Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging
The Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging, which will be located in the building's lower level, will house a 7 Tesla MRI scanner. This powerful imaging tool, one of only about 20 of these devices in the U.S., will provide the clearest pictures to date of the microstructures and biological processes that drive human bodies and brains.
One highlight of the building will be a coffee shop where scientists from different disciplines will mingle and exchange ideas.
During the visit, Staff Council and Faculty Senate leaders—both current presidents are from the Carver College of Medicine—discussed with Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds how continued state funding has helped UI faculty and staff be successful, and highlighted how collaboration across all of the university's colleges fosters entrepreneurial activity and economic development.
The visit included presentations from faculty, staff, and students who are actively engaged in developing and commercializing discoveries to improve human health.
"It is exciting to see the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit you have here," Branstad said.