Slide Show: Stem Cell Science Soars to New Heights at UCSF

Scores of people gathered at UCSF to celebrate the grand opening of the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building, headquarters of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research on the Parnassus campus on Feb. 9. 

The spectacular $123 million building was paid for with state and private funds, including the generous gifts from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and Ray and Dagmar Dolby, who witnessed the opening ceremonies, and a $34.9 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Established in 2004 with the passage of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act by 7 million voters, CIRM is responsible for disbursing $3 billion in state funds for stem cell research to California universities and research institutions over the next 10 years. So far, UCSF has received $112 million in funding from CIRM.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, was joined on stage for the festive occasion – complete with a ribbon-cutting, balloon drop and trumpet section – by new San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Eli Broad, Robert Klein, chair of the governing board of CIRM; Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine; UC President Mark Yudof and Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.

The opening of the new stem cell research building – the first new building on the UCSF Parnassus campus in years – marks a milestone in UCSF’s pioneering program, one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

“It is clear that we are in the midst of a revolution,” said Kriegstein, who compared the “bold, innovative and risk-taking” building to the research that is being conducted inside.

Designed by renowned architect Raphael Viñoly, in collaboration with the design/build team of DPR Construction, SmithGroup Architects and Forell/Elsesser Engineers, the cantilevered, serpentine building is a series of four split-level floors with terraced roofs with grass-covered patios. Open labs flow into each other, with office and lounge areas located on the routes between labs, promoting interaction throughout the building.

“I think it’s fair to say that the end product is a feat of human ingenuity and a testament to the architectural genius of Rafael Viñoly and the leadership of UCSF's architectural and construction teams led by Michael Bade, Michael Toporkoff and George Hastings, with SmithGroup and DPR Construction,” said Desmond-Hellmann in her welcoming remarks.

The stem cell research building provides a state-of-the-art home for some 125 labs with scientists exploring the earliest stages of animal and human development. The goal of these studies is to understand how disorders and diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer, develop and how they could be treated with regenerative medicine. 

Photos by Mark Citret, Bruce Damonte/Courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects, Peter DaSilva and Susan Merrell