February 10, 2014

New Weill Building a ‘Game Changer’ for Cornell

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By REBEKAH FOSTER

The Belfer Research Building — an 18-story, $650-million building devoted to translational science — opened at Weill Cornell Medical College on Jan. 31.

“The building is truly going to be a game-changer for biomedical research at Cornell University,” said Gary Koretzky ’78, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

According to Koretzky, the building, which increases the amount of research space available to Weill Cornell’s New York City campus, has been planned for “a long time.”

The exterior of the Belfer Research Building.

Photo courtesy of Weill Cornell Medical College

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Belfer Research Building

Photo courtesy of Weill Cornell Medical College

New lab space in the Belfer Research Building

Photo courtesy of Weill Cornell Medical College

“It was the vision of Dr. Antonio Gotto [former dean of Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences] and leadership at Weill Cornell as well as the Board of Overseers,” he said.“The building is truly state-of-the-art. While there may be other institutions that have more square footage of research space, it is the quality rather than the quantity of research space that matters.” – Gary Koretzky ’78

Koretzky said plans were drafted and finalized during a turbulent financial time, which he says signifies WCMC’s unwavering commitment to its standing as a top research institution.

“It was a community effort and the recognition was that for Weill to take the next step as a leading research institution, there would be a requirement for new research space,” Koretzky said.

With the building finished on time, a plan is in place to move additional faculty into the building over the next few months, and some faculty have already begun moving their labs into the new building, according to Koretzky.

The building, which houses 13 floors of research laboratories, was designed with an open floor plan to foster collaborations between research scientists.

“The building is truly state-of-the-art,” Koretzky said. “While there may be other institutions that have more square footage of research space, it is the quality rather than the quantity of research space that matters.”

Weill Cornell is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification for the building, which was designed by Todd Schliemann, according to a University press release.

Research institutes from a variety of healthcare areas are represented in the building, including the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Center for Metabolic Health, the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine.

“One of the things which is really special about the building is the way we have planned to have it occupied by the scientists,” Koretzky said. “Instead of having faculty be placed in the building based on departmental affiliations, it is based on their scientific interests. Scientists will be co-localized even though faculty will be from many different departments, providing a great opportunity for synergy.”

Laurie Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss dean of WCMC, said in a University press release that the opening of the building is an “extraordinary milestone for Weill Cornell.”

“Our new Belfer Research Building is an inspiring symbol of scientific breakthroughs that can advance patient care, enhance health and change lives,” Glimcher said. “I am deeply appreciative of our loyal donors and friends, distinguished physicians and scientists, and our esteemed government and civic leaders, whose unwavering dedication and support is a testament to this building’s promise.”

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