November 2, 2007
Pam McFie, a research technician from the Biochemistry Department, in the GEMS Laboratory.
Photo by Kirk Sibbald
An under-utilized teaching lab in the Health Sciences Building has been converted into an innovative research facility and expected to serve as a prototype as the $120 million Academic Health Sciences project proceeds.
Brad Steeves, user liaison for the Academic Health Sciences project, said the renovated lab on the third floor of the B Wing has been allocated to the GEMS (Gene Expression Mapping Using Synchrotron Light) research group. Steeves said the group consists of four principal investigators and a number of associates performing collaborative research that melds the life sciences with synchrotron technology.
Their work is a precursor for imaging using the synchrotron’s new biomedical beamline, the result of which is expected to someday produce patient applications, he said.
With easily movable cabinets, tables and flexible light fixtures, the GEMS lab will serve as a model for other labs to be constructed as part of the Academic Health Sciences project. All will be open concept and designed to accommodate a wide range of research initiatives, said Steeves.
“With the building of the new building, we want to do things differently. We want to provide space that’s flexible and adaptable for research for the future,” he said. “We don’t design specifically for one research project. Instead we are designing something that is very generic for a large research group.”