LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has been awarded a nearly $10.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support construction of the 12-story expansion tower to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
The grant will fund completion of two research laboratory floors in the building, which is scheduled to open its first phase this summer. Funding for the grant comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus monies allocated to the NIH for construction grants.
Gov. Mike Beebe joined UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., and Cancer Institute Director Peter Emanuel, M.D., in a news conference today at the construction site to announce the funding.
“The cornerstone of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute is our research program. Completion of these two research floors will be a huge step in expanding our research capabilities and our ability to search for the causes and future treatments of many types of cancer,” Emanuel said.
“The importance of cancer research cannot be emphasized enough as a vital link in improving the health of Arkansans, both now and in future generations,” said Rahn. “The laboratories that this grant will fund will give our scientists the tools they need to develop new innovative therapies and discover the underlying causes of cancer. The grant also will stimulate the local economy by creating more jobs and allowing us to recruit more scientists.”
The $10,458,675 grant will fund completion of the ninth and 11th floors in the institute’s second tower, resulting in an additional 33,660 net square feet of research space. The Cancer Institute is Arkansas’ only academic cancer research center.
“With these funds, we will have the monies to finish out about half of the floors in the 12-story tower, which was our stated goal at our groundbreaking ceremony in 2007,” Emanuel said. “Completion of additional floors in the new tower and the upcoming renovation of our current Walker Tower will give us the ability to continue expanding our research and treatment programs, in addition to adding new ones in the future.”
The project is expected to create 123 construction-related jobs and 87 research-related positions. Expected completion of the floors is mid-2011.
Awarded through a highly competitive peer-review process, the construction grant will be administered by the National Center for Research Resources, the same agency that last year awarded UAMS a Clinical and Translational Science Award.
The research floors will be the first and only on the UAMS campus to have what is called an “open lab bench” configuration.
“By using the open bench concept, our researchers will not be housed in a traditional lab setting,” Emanuel said. “Instead, they will share a large open space designed to encourage interaction and collaboration between scientists, in addition to promoting a more cost-efficient use of shared equipment.”
In May 2009, the Cancer Institute announced completion of a $36 million matching funds program by the Arkansas Legislature for construction of the institute’s new tower. In April 2007, the governor signed a bill allowing the state to provide the matching funds to construct the institute’s expansion.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.