Research building will house a key drug discovery and bioenergy research tool: The world’s first compact free-electron X-ray laser
Arizona State University celebrated a major research building construction milestone Wednesday morning with the topping out of the $120 million Biodesign Institute C Research Building.
The ceremony officially commemorated the completion of the main structural work and gave the community a preview of future benefits when the third building in the ASU Biodesign Institute’s master-planned, 14-acre complex located on the main campus in Tempe, Arizona, is completed in the summer of 2018.
Video by Grace Clark/ASU
Joshua LaBaer, Biodesign’s executive director and a renowned cancer researcher, sees the addition of this new space as concrete evidence of ASU’s significant commitment to leading the field with discoveries that keep people and the planet healthy.
“Powered by intellect, energy and innovation, our researchers believe they can accomplish what others often find impossible,” said LaBaer. “With the addition of Biodesign C, we will soon have nearly 700 scientists of all kinds — biologists, engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer technologists — and students working together to find creative and clean solutions for energy, air and water. We will invent new diagnostics and treatments that are accessible and affordable, and in some cases, we expect to be able to halt disease before it even begins.”
After a welcome address from Tamara Deuser, acting chief operating officer for the Biodesign Institute and associate vice president of research operations at ASU's Knowledge Enterprise Development (KED), the final beam was hoisted aloft — a 21-foot-long, quarter-ton metal beam placed by workers for McCarthy Construction, which oversees the construction of the nearly 200,0000-square-foot building. Attached to the beam were an American flag, Biodesign banner and a pine tree, traditional emblems of topping-out ceremonies for steel-constructed buildings.
“Topping out marks a significant milestone in the construction process, signaling the final beam placement of a new structure,” said Justin Kelton, president of McCarthy Building Companies’ Southwest division. “For a research facility of world-class caliber like Biodesign Institute C represents, topping out is even more meaningful because it brings with it significant hope for our future and the promise of new discoveries and innovations.”
Biodesign Institute C will house a key drug discovery and bioenergy research tool — the world’s first compact free-electron X-ray laser — a super X-ray that will peer deep inside proteins to better understand both the action of molecules critical to cancer and other devastating diseases and better understand how plants convert sunlight into renewable energy. Scientists of varying disciplines will be in the lab’s “neighborhoods,” a layout of close proximity that encourages collaboration. The design is modeled after state-of-the-art research complexes like the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, California, which was also built by McCarthy.