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Michigan State University Breaks Ground on New Research Center

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new era of medical discovery began June 18, as ground was broken for the Michigan State University (MSU) Grand Rapids Research Center.

The $88.1 million, six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility will include research program spaces and five core labs that will benefit MSU College of Human Medicine scientists and researchers from MSU’s partnering institutions. The core labs include bioinformatics, flow cytometer, long-term storage, and analytical and advanced microscopy.

The new research center will be located on the site of the former Grand Rapids Press building, at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said the research center will fuel West Michigan’s knowledge economy.

“We envision the MSU research building and Grand Rapids Innovation Park to be a gateway to the Medical Mile and a magnet attracting business in life sciences and growth in the biotechnology sectors,” Simon says.

When the research center opens in late 2017, it will support 260 members of the College of Human Medicine’s scientific research teams, including 34 principal investigators and their labs. At full capacity, the center will support 44 research teams. Some of the areas of scientific study include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, pediatric neurology, autism, inflammation, transplantation, cancer, genetics, women’s health and reproductive medicine.

The announcement is part of a long-range strategy that began in 2005 with key stakeholders first establishing MSU’s medical education arm in Grand Rapids and then later, the construction of the Secchia Center. This $90 million, privately funded facility was constructed specifically for medical education and not designed to accommodate research laboratories.
The second component of the long-term plan was creating an epicenter for academic research, involving the establishment of the Spectrum Health–MSU Alliance to fund joint recruitment of scientists. This initiative also involved partnering with Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University to lease laboratory space to support the new National Institutes of Health-funded researchers recruited to Grand Rapids.

Since then, 18 principal investigators and their scientific teams have been recruited to West Michigan and space is now scarce.

“We fully occupy all suitable laboratory space available to MSU in Grand Rapids,” says Marsha D. Rappley, dean of the College of Human Medicine. “We have the critical mass to warrant a new research center that will benefit not only MSU, but our partnering institutions in collaborative medical research.”