Fact Sheet: Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery

Opened in 2009, the Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery provides 330,760 square feet of new research space for groundbreaking initiatives in the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences. This facility houses laboratories and office space for principal investigators, postdoctoral students, and graduate students in the departments of medicine and pediatrics, as well as the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Innovative Research

A number of innovative programs occupy the Center for Biomedical Discovery, including the Institute for Pediatric Molecular Sciences. This institute--the first of its kind in the country--is exclusively devoted to improving children's health through organized, team-based research of how genes influence disease. The institute introduces an entirely new model of research that harnesses genomics, biophysics, physiology, and clinical studies to develop more advanced and effective treatments for pediatric diseases.

In the Center for Biomedical Discovery, researchers work together to create tailor-made cancer treatments specifically designed for each patient. The facility is also home to the Center for Metastasis Research. Although metastasis is known as a leading cause of cancer deaths, most research to date has been focused on treating primary cancers. In the Center for Metastasis Research, is a novel emphasis on the exploration of metastasis--which requires a very different approach than treating primary cancers. This center is one of only six centers in the country focusing on the study of metastasis.

Interactive Environment

The Center for Biomedical Discovery is built to enhance the collaborative culture of its occupants. This state-of-the-art structure includes architectural features designed to frame an efficient and flexible work environment, such as:

  • Public and common areas built as double height spaces, permitting interaction between users of adjacent floors.
  • Laboratory floors organized in two blocks to promote a highly interactive environment.
  • Offices will be configured to allow views through support spaces and into laboratories, creating openness throughout the building.

Optimal Location

The center's location, on the northeast corner of Drexel Avenue and 57th Street, facilitates travel to and from affiliated programs in the Center for Integrative Science (formerly the Interdivisional Research Building) and the Jules Knapp Research Center. Enclosed walkways on the first and third levels connect the new building to the Biological Sciences Learning Center (BSLC). The more public elements of the building--clinical offices, divisional administration, and conference facilities--are easily accessible on the ground floor.