As part of the USTAR investment, two world-class interdisciplinary research and development buildings were constructed and are maintained at Utah State University (USU) and the University of Utah (U). These facilities, the USTAR BioInnovations Center at USU and the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building at the U, provide research space, core facilities, and specialized equipment for researchers and research teams to conduct their work. The buildings can also be used on a fee-for-service basis by commercial partners and others who may benefit from access, expanding the economic development impact of the USTAR investment on the innovation ecosystem. While the core purpose is to provide state of the art facilities for researchers and their critical work, an added benefit is the opportunity to foster collaboration between researchers, industry experts, and the entrepreneurial community. The USTAR BioInnovations Center includes the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Facility, while the Utah Nanofab is housed in the Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building at the U.
USTAR BioInnovations Building
The 118,000 square-foot building, dedicated in October 2010, houses highly advanced life-sciences laboratories and provides researchers the resources to seek cures for a range of human and animal diseases. USTAR teams including Applied Nutrition Research, Synthetic BioManufacturing and Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Diseases are occupants of the innovative structure.
The USTAR BioInnovations Center is the first LEED Gold certified building on the Logan campus. “As a LEED Gold certified building, the USTAR BioInnovations Center is among the most sustainable, energy-efficient research centers in the nation,” said Robert T. Behunin, vice president for commercialization and regional development at Utah State University. “The USTAR Center is a tremendous asset for researchers. The state-of-the-art capabilities within the facility have allowed us to leverage our resources to build important partnerships with industry.”
The state-of-the-art facility includes:
- Bio Safety Level 3+ lab
- Clinical nutrition center
- Life science labs
Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology
The USTAR James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building is the centerpiece of a visionary plan to bridge the U of U main campus and health sciences with the goal of accelerating research at the interfaces of medicine, engineering, pharmacy, science, business, law and digital media.
Ground breaking for the facility took place April 22, 2009 and it was dedicated April 19, 2012. The building was awarded LEED Gold certification in September, 2013. Facilities include:
- State-of-the-art Nanofabrication facility
- 18,000-square-foot cleanroom
- 5,300 square-foot microscopy and materials characterization suite
- Open-plan lab space
The 208,000 square-foot multidisciplinary building is home to the Brain Institute, the Nano Institute, and the Department of Bioengineering.
The Utah Nanofab currently leverages $83 million in federal funding for active research projects and services 45 Utah companies. With the new facility’s capabilities in both “dry” and “wet” nano, these figures are expected to increase dramatically, as early results already show.
Cynthia Furse, U of U Associate Vice President for Research and Professor of Electromagnetics, sees the Sorenson building as an invitation to industry to come to the university and work with the researchers, as well as a critical component of leveraging funding opportunities.