UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital Unveil Innovative New Research Complex

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Roxanne Moster
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Structure's design encourages collaborative approach to research on stem cells, musculoskeletal diseases and AIDS.

The UCLA Biomedical Sciences Research Building and Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, an exciting new research hub located on the UCLA campus, was officially dedicated today. UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital researchers who have been engaged in expanding the frontiers of orthopaedic medicine, microbiology, immunology, transplantation, AIDS research, embryonic stem cell research, molecular, cell and developmental biology, and biological chemistry now have a new home at this unique center, which promises to usher in a future era of scientific investigation.

Designed by the award-winning architectural firm Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, the UCLA Biomedical Sciences Research Building and Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center structures are designed to foster a collaborative research environment and includes state-of-the-art technologies to maximize research exploration.

"This innovative addition to our campus will help us maximize UCLA's strength as an interdisciplinary community of scholars in which collaboration is key to comprehensively addressing tough questions," said Dr. Gene Block, chancellor of UCLA.

The creation of this structure, along with a new neurosciences research building, has offered UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital a chance to rethink the basis of laboratory design, which has not changed much since the days of Thomas Jefferson. The new environments will maximize the potential of modern biomedical tools, establish a sense of community among research leaders from a variety of interrelated disciplines and provide resources as advanced as the challenges researchers face.

"Researchers at this new facility will strive tirelessly to find cures and better treatments for the world's most devastating diseases," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "This research complex represents the future of medical advancement and progress and it reinforces UCLA's status as a premier institution of biomedical research."

"In addition to fostering collaboration across all disciplines, the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center will house the largest facility for musculoskeletal research in the nation," said Dr. James V. Luck Jr., president, chief executive officer and medical director of Orthopaedic Hospital. "We will address crippling diseases of children and adults such as birth defects, osteoarthritis, hemophilia and bone tumors while continuing to advance the treatment of hip, knee, spine and other musculoskeletal issues. Orthopaedic Hospital, a world renowned leader in orthopaedic research, has helped more than 2 million people with crippling disorders," Luck said. "The opening of the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center marks the hospital's expansion to the Westside of Los Angeles, while continuing its nearly 100-year history of serving Angelenos at its downtown campus with world-class orthopaedic care."

"The dedication of these facilities affords the UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery a unique opportunity to expand its research efforts," said Dr. Gerald Finerman, chair of the department and a Dorothy and Leonard Strauss Scholar at UCLA. "The recruitment of Dr. John Adams, an outstanding clinician-scientist, to become our vice chairman for orthopaedic research, will foster the gathering of a team of musculoskeletal researchers from disciplines within UCLA and other institutions. The research program will extend from basic molecular biology of the musculoskeletal system to translational collaborative programs to bring this information into our clinical treatment programs. The research laboratories will enhance our mission of physician education and provision of clinical care to our patients."

Combined, the 230,000-square-foot buildings will house more than 450 scientists and staff from UCLA's College of Letters and Science the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital. By uniting experts engaged in a wide spectrum of studies, the university and Orthopaedic Hospital hope to foster biomedical discoveries that will result in a dramatic shift in medical treatments for a variety of diseases, including bone disorders, cancer, diabetes and AIDS.

"As a clinician-scientist, I have dedicated my career to advancing our understanding of the molecular underpinnings, as well as the diagnosis, treatment and prevention, of diseases that put the human skeleton at increased risk for fracture," said Dr. John Adams, the new vice chair for research at the UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. "As director of the newly created Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, I am in the position to realize a long-standing dream, to create multidisciplinary teams of scientists — including experts in molecular and stem cell biology, biomedical engineering, and materials science — and clinicians to develop novel means of regenerating bone and joint tissue in adults and children."    

Architects designed the building with common open laboratories that are shared among departments, a new concept for UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital. Roughly 12 to 14 groups of scientists will share four labs on each floor, which will create a synergistic effect on their research. The unique structure, seamlessly joined by an open circular staircase that allows access across floors throughout both buildings, will encourage joint investigations and crossover discoveries among faculty who would not ordinarily collaborate.

The combined buildings will include Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, the UCLA AIDS Institute and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.  Institute researchers will work side by side with basic science faculty from the departments of biological chemistry; microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; and molecular, cell and developmental biology. Research will include programs in cancer, bone and cartilage disorders, drug-resistant infections, severe combined immunodeficient diseases, diabetes, lupus, rejection syndromes associated with solid organ transplantation and more.

Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, which houses research facilities for orthopaedic medicine and related fields, such as molecular, cell and developmental biology and biological chemistry, is located immediately adjacent to the UCLA Biomedical Sciences Research Building. Orthopaedic Hospital is a recognized world leader in patient care, education and research in orthopaedic medicine, which has improved the quality of life for children and adults with crippling disorders. For nearly a century, Orthopaedic Hospital has been helping children afflicted with debilitating orthopaedic conditions lead healthy, active lives, regardless of their families' ability to pay. For more information, visit www.orthohospital.org.

The UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, ranked No. 9 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, operates Centers of Excellence in joint replacement, sports medicine, hand and microsurgery, spine disorders, musculoskeletal oncology, musculoskeletal trauma, pediatric orthopaedics, and osteoporosis. The department provides consultation and treatment for patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system and comprehensive services for orthopaedic specialties, including joint replacement and reconstructive surgery, hand and microvascular surgery, sports medicine, arthroscopy, foot and ankle surgery, pediatric orthopaedics, spinal diseases, orthopaedic trauma, orthopaedic oncology, and metabolic bone disease. For more information, visit www.ortho.medsch.ucla.edu.

-UCLA-

(Editors: Preview of B-roll footage and sound bites are available at http://streaming.uclahealth.org/research-building. Please note that you will need Windows Media to open the video.)

Media Contact:
Roxanne Moster
(310) 794-2264
[email protected]