Broadening research, expanding possibilities
The approval to select an architect comes as Brown is simultaneously developing an operational plan to grow its overall research enterprise, building further on substantial forward momentum in research activity in recent years. Creating an integrated life sciences building is one instrumental priority as Brown considers investments in space, staffing and infrastructure to support its research aspirations.
The life sciences include many of the most space-intensive research programs across Brown. Life sciences units at Brown include 20 biology and clinical departments and more than a dozen research centers and institutes in the Division of Biology and Medicine; the Institute for Biology, Engineering and Medicine; the interdisciplinary Carney Institute for Brain Science; the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences; and four departments and more than a dozen research centers and institutes at the School of Public Health.
Brown’s current primary research facilities include the Biomedical Center and Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences on College Hill, the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine at 70 Ship St. in the Jewelry District, and 121 South Main St., home to the School of Public Health. All are currently at or near maximum capacity, and some need significant investments for renovation and deferred maintenance.
Dr. Mukesh K. Jain, who joined the University as dean of medicine and biological sciences in March 2022, said creating a new facility in the Jewelry District, where Brown has invested more than $225 million over the last 12 years, would provide much-needed space for existing research centers to grow and for new ones to flourish.
“The life sciences at Brown continue to grow at a robust rate, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to join this research community,” Jain said. “A modern facility with the laboratory space, technology and infrastructure to translate cutting-edge science will enable Brown to implement a growth plan that supports research teams working on scales ranging from molecular-level science to biotechnology innovations, to the latest developments in patient therapies and interventions.”
A key part of the vision is to provide investigators access to state-of-the art technologies that “enable the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, particularly in highly promising areas such as RNA biology, to stimulate stronger partnerships with biotech and pharma, which will accelerate the timeline to clinical impact while simultaneously enhancing economic vibrancy and workforce opportunities for our Rhode Island community,” Jain added.
While the programming phase of the building design process must assess needs across Brown’s programs and determine what specific spaces would be included, a new facility would position the University to build upon a series of major developments in life sciences research.