Researchers move into BJC Institute of Health at Washington University

After two years of eager anticipation, the first occupants of the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University began moving in last week.

The 11-story BJC Institute of Health is now the hub for WUSTL’s BioMed 21 initiative to speed scientific discovery and rapidly apply breakthroughs to patient care. BJC HealthCare supported construction of the building with a $30 million gift over five years.

Research teams from the Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center and the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research moved into space on the 10th floor the week of Jan. 25.

Over the first three weeks of February, six faculty members from the Department of Pathology and Immunology will move into the eighth floor. Research teams from the Hope Center Program on Protein Aggregation and Neurodegeneration will move into ninth floor space during the last week of February.

In March, the Women’s Reproductive Sciences Research Center will move into space on the 10th floor, and researchers from the Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Diseases will move into space on the ninth floor.

“This building is a beacon for innovative and potentially lifesaving research conducted at Washington University,” says Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor of medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Having our researchers in a central location will enhance the spirit of collaboration and lead to new advances in these important research areas.”

Floors 1 through 5 will be left as flexible shell space for Barnes-Jewish Hospital to develop in the future. The sixth floor will house the building’s mechanical and electrical systems. The seventh floor will eventually house the Bridging Research with Imaging, Genomics and High-Throughput Technologies Institute, or the BRIGHT Institute, and the Division of Pediatric Surgery. The 11th floor is shell space for future use.

The building’s layout will facilitate teamwork and interaction. The labs are open, and shared conference rooms and break areas will encourage interaction and conversation.

Jean Schaffer, M.D., the Virginia Minnich Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of the Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center, said investigators will share state-of-the-art research space designed to maximize interactions and promote collaborations.

“The Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center is thrilled to have been selected to move into the new BJC Institute of Health building,” Schaffer says. “Our focus is understanding cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes, an enormous public health problem affecting two-thirds of the more than 20 million people in the United States who have diabetes. Our center brings together investigators with expertise in diverse areas that include medicine, molecular and cell biology, physics, biomedical engineering, genetics and radiology to make tangible scientific progress that ultimately improves patient care.”

Designed and built to be environmentally sustainable, the building is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation. Sustainable construction processes and building features include a pollution prevention plan, water efficient landscaping, optimized energy performance plan, use of recycled and local building materials, use of low-emitting materials, increased ventilation and outdoor air delivery monitoring.

The two-story lobby of the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University.

A two-story lobby with a glass entryway will lead into the building at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Children’s Place. The building’s 11 stories are enclosed in 24,000 square feet of metal panels, 20,800 square feet of brick, 99,000 square feet of limestone panels and 75,000 square feet of glass. The interior has 680,000 square feet of space.

A new service road leads from Taylor Avenue to the building’s underground loading docks. Two pedestrian bridges have been installed connecting the building to the Clinical Sciences Research Building and the North/South link.

A scenic plaza will front the building, continuing efforts to make Euclid Avenue a relaxing area for employees, students and visitors. The plaza landscaping will be completed in the late spring in time for a grand opening in the summer.