The University of Texas at Austin to Dedicate Premier $55 Million Biomedical Engineering Building

Aug. 25, 2008

Event: The University of Texas at Austin students, faculty, staff and friends will attend a dedication of the new $55 million Biomedical Engineering Building, including William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, and several deans, including Ben Streetman, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. Biomedical engineering faculty will be available before the dedication ceremony to discuss their ongoing and groundbreaking research.

When: Thursday, Aug. 28, 1-4 p.m. Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty will be available from 1-2 p.m. The dedication ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with various university and industry speakers, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. and a reception lasting until 4 p.m.

Where: Biomedical Engineering Building, 107 W. Dean Keeton St., at the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and University Avenue. A map is available online.

Background: The 141,000-square-foot, six-story laboratory and research building was designed as the gateway to the university's northern campus. Its location creates a front door to the life sciences complex that includes the Neural & Molecular Science Building, the Louise and James Robert Moffett Molecular Biology Building and the future Experimental Science Building.

The building will house classrooms, research laboratories and administrative offices of the Biomedical Engineering Department. In addition, the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Pharmacy will each occupy one floor, providing interdisciplinary strength to the already stellar department.

It houses nine optics labs built two stories underground to minimize the effects of vibration. A dozen wet labs, eight tissue-culture rooms, several dry labs and four computational labs also exist for medical research. The building became the first facility on campus with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Some of its sustainable features include a rainwater collection system, use of products with recycled content, carbon dioxide monitoring and Greenguard-certified furniture.

Funding for the building was provided by the state's Permanent University Fund, the university, the Washington, D.C.-based Whitaker Foundation ($3 million) and the Cockrell School ($5 million).

Faculty members available for interviews at the dedication from 1-2 p.m. include:

  • Assistant Professor Mia Markey, whose research focuses on computer-aided detection of breast cancer in mammography as well as 3-D face recognition.
  • Associate Professor Krishnendu Roy, whose work develops cancer and infectious-disease vaccines and involves generating immune cells from stem cells for cell therapy.
  • Assistant Professor James Tunnell, who conducts nanoparticle cancer research and is testing a device that detects skin cancer using weak pulses of light.
  • Assistant Professor Muhammad Zaman, who is developing the next generation of global computing methods using idle computers to solve the biggest challenges in cancer. This work is complemented by multidisciplinary experimental approaches developed in his lab to study tumor metastasis.

NOTE to editors and reporters: Starting at noon the day of the event, news media should call the following mobile number for Daniel J. Vargas, Cockrell School of Engineering, 832-372-3588.

For more information, contact: Daniel Vargas;  Kenneth Diller, Biomedical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering College of Engineering, 512-471-7167.