Life Sciences II Holds Grand Opening Celebration

by: Kimberlee Williams

November 5, 2017

Life Sciences II Ribbon Cutting

Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) celebrated the new Life Sciences Center (LSC II) on Thursday, November 2, 2017 with a grand opening event for the $59 million, state-of-the-art, five-story science complex located on University Avenue in downtown Newark, NJ.  "It is such a grand day," said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, "and a grand facility that not only realizes the long standing plans of Rutgers Newark STEM community, but it also opens so many new possibilities for our community to contribute to where Life Sciences innovation is moving."  LSC II is the front door to the sciences quad, a contiguous, multi-building, teaching and research complex that is home to the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience (CMBN).  The 85,000-square-foot-structure gives physical reality to interdisciplinary practice in the sciences linking Life Sciences I, built in 2005; Aidekman Hall completed in 1991 (neuroscience); Boyden Hall completed in the 1960’s (biology and environmental sciences); and Olson Hall completed in the early 1970’s (chemistry).

"Knowledge spinout from the kind of research done here is the engine of the economy," said Robert L. Barchi, President of Rutgers University, "Students learning new techniques through this research, especially in the biological sciences and medical sciences, are going to put their stamp on new companies and lead them, and it's the combined action of both that really drives the economy of the state."

Rutgers University-Newark has highly regarded Chemistry and Psychology programs and leading programs in Cell Biology, Ecology and Evolution and Environmental Sciences. In addition, Rutgers-Newark has the premier research MRI facility in the northern part of the state, the Rutgers Brian Imaging Center, RUBIC, located Aidekman Hall.  “The Life Sciences Center is a focal point for the vibrant science programs on campus.  The remarkable transformation of science facilities at Rutgers University-Newark over the years is the realization of a decades-long dream of the science faculty to have truly state of the art laboratories for both teaching and research that exposes Rutgers-Newark undergraduates to the way modern sciences are conducted,” said Dr. John Sheridan, Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences-Newark (FASN).

Visit the LSC II Grand Opening gallery on Flickr   

The five above-ground floors inside LSC II include: modern teaching laboratories for upper-level chemistry and biology courses; chemistry and biology research laboratories; and a 100-seat lecture hall with “smart classroom” capability, designed for active learning and student engagement. A state-of-the-art imaging and electron-microscopy facility are housed 27-feet below ground level.

LSC II will further broaden the university’s capacity to be New Jersey’s talent pipeline for first generation, underrepresented and minority students in science and community-engaged research that has an impact in Greater Newark.  “LSC II fulfills a commitment to research and teaching in the sciences made at Rutgers University-Newark more than half a century ago.  We make a commitment to the future, to pass on to the next generation, excellence in the sciences,” said Dr. Jan Lewis, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences-Newark.

The faculty at FASN have proven their ability to hire and mentor younger scientists in their fields.  The FASN has 17 distinguished professors, the highest rank Rutgers bestows on professors, and 12 are in STEM fields.  Additionally the science faculty has a Henry Rutgers Professor and a Henry Rutgers Term Chair in STEM, as well as an endowed chair in neuroscience, and a distinguished service professor too.  About one-third of the faculty in the departments of chemistry and math and the neuroscience center are distinguished professors.

Rutgers University-Newark’s commitment and demonstrated success in training first generation, underrepresented and minority students in STEM is further reflected in the array of longstanding funded programs.  Current faculty in the sciences garner upward of $13 million in external funding for research and teaching.  Barry Komisaruk’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) grant for minority graduate students in the biomedical sciences has been funded continuously since 1984. Alec Gates’ Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program (LSAMP) , aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students in non-medical STEM fields has been funded continuously since 2009.  And the LSAMP grant has recently been supplemented by a $2.5m grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM, Sustainable Pathways from Community College to Bachelor's Degree for Urban Youth in STEM, Northern New Jersey.  And the Academic Foundations Center recently received a $1,160,000 grant to fund the preparation for graduate study, including in STEM, of undergrads from first generation, underrepresented and minority groups.