Published: April 11, 2012

Grand opening to celebrate new MSU plant science building

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129 Tom.Oswald@cabs.msu.edu, Doug Gage Research and Graduate Studies office: (517) 355-8461 gage@egr.msu.edu

EAST LANSING, Mich. — When Michigan State University’s Molecular Plant Sciences Building officially opens Friday, it will be more than just bricks and mortar housing some of the world’s premier plant-science research.

The building will serve as a bridge, joining MSU’s two plant-research buildings and bringing together world-class plant researchers from across a variety of disciplines.

A grand opening event will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 13, at the building, which is located on Wilson Road, just west of Bogue Street, on the MSU campus.

“This building bridges, both physically and intellectually, disciplines, departments and colleges,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “What it will do is promote the cross-pollination of ideas and expertise, and initiate a new era of collaborative interdisciplinary research at Michigan State.”

The four-story, 90,000-square-foot building will connect the Plant Science and Plant and Soil Sciences buildings. It will bring together basic research departments – plant biology and the Department of Energy-sponsored Plant Research Lab – with applied research departments – crop and soil science, horticulture and plant pathology.

The first floor of the building includes a teaching auditorium, an atrium that looks out into the gardens, as well as a bioinformatics suite which recognizes the increasing role that computation plays in basic plant and agricultural research.

Floors two through four contain offices, conference rooms and flexible laboratory space that will support as many as 18 research groups, which would include nearly 150 graduate students, postdoctoral students, undergraduate students and technicians.

The lower level will feature increased space for state-of-the-art growth chambers, which will allow year-round plant growing in clean environments.

“The researchers who populate this building will work together, translating basic biochemical and genomic discoveries made at the lab bench to the field and, ultimately, to the table or the energy pipeline,” said Doug Gage, MSU assistant to the vice president for research and graduate studies.

The Molecular Plant Sciences Building is the visual outcome of the Plant Science Excellence initiative, a program that has solidified MSU’s status as one of the world’s top plant-research universities.

The initiative has resulted in the recruiting of several dozen world-class plant scientists to MSU, researchers that include members of the National Academy of Science as well as the university’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator – Sheng Yang He.

For more information on MSU’s plant research initiatives, visit www.plantscience.msu.edu.

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