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Penn State Trustees OK plan to expand College of Medicine research facilities

Board approves $37.3 million project to modernize College of Medicine comparative medicine facilities

The Penn State Board of Trustees approved on Sept. 23 a $37.3 million initiative to renovate and expand Penn State College of Medicine’s comparative medicine facilities.

For the past two years, the College of Medicine has been the top externally funded college at Penn State. Most of the multi-year awards the college holds are from a mix of federal, association and industry programs — over $70 million worth — and rely on the comparative medicine facilities, where model organisms are used to study cancer, aging, infectious diseases, substance use disorders and other health conditions. The proposed renovation and expansion plan will modernize these research spaces and improve both adult and pediatric cancer research capacity, in addition to supporting a variety of research on causes of and treatments for other medical conditions.

“The board’s support of this initiative recognizes the College of Medicine’s continued growth as a top destination for biomedical and health sciences research in the region,” said Ronald Wilson, professor and chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine. “This project will provide our faculty, staff and students with the ability to enhance human health through research with state-of-the-art, modern facilities.”

The College of Medicine secured $12.2 million in funding to support this project from Four Diamonds to grow pediatric cancer research and $5 million in funding from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The project is expected to begin this fall and end by mid-2024, using plans developed by HDR Inc. of Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

The project includes the renovation of approximately 11,000 square feet of existing research space and the addition of 18,700 square feet of new space. The project will modernize imaging facilities and establish the first germ-free research facility on campus, which is critical to supporting the college’s microbiome research initiative. In addition, the project will increase the college’s capacity to develop implantable devices and to become a leader in translational research as outlined in the college’s strategic plan.

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