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University To Celebrate New Biochemistry Building October 15-16

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will formally christen the new $35.6 million Biochemistry Building on Oct. 15-16 with a dedication ceremony, open house and science symposium.

While many in Madison have seen the building slowly take shape along Campus Drive over the past two years, the events give the public a formal opportunity to connect with University of Wisconsin-Madison”s newest building.

“The dedication of this new building marks the latest in a long list of accomplishments compiled by this extraordinary department,” said CALS Dean Elton Aberle.

The building provides a modern home for a department with a celebrated history, he said. Some of the vitamin and mineral discoveries by UW-Madison biochemists wiped out devastating diseases, improved human health and strengthened agricultural production.

Aberle said the new building will enhance many current projects, such as unraveling the mysteries of how plants prolong leaf growth and probing new proteins to fight cancer.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. Invited speakers include Gov. Tommy Thompson, UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward, Aberle, biochemistry professors Hector DeLuca and Michael Cox, Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., president of the board of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and former WARF director Howard Bremer.

The ceremony will be outdoors, weather permitting, at the southeast entrance of the new building, 433 Babcock Drive. Public parking will be available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in lots 17 (Engineering) and 20 (Genetics/Biotechnology). In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in Room 125 of the Old Biochemistry Building, 420 Henry Mall.

Throughout the day on Friday, Oct. 16, the department will host an open house with regularly scheduled tours of the new building, and a symposium featuring four nationally prominent scientists. The symposia will be held in B1118 Biochemistry.

Guest lectures begin at 10 a.m. with I. Robert Lehman, a biochemist at Stanford University, who will speak on Herpes virus DNA replication. At 11 a.m., Yale University biochemist Paul B. Sigler will discuss crystallographic studies of how steroid receptors bind to elements. At 1:30 p.m., Columbia University chemist Ann McDermott will discuss nuclear magnetic resonance studies of enzyme turnover, photosynthesis and the cytoskeleton.

DeLuca, chair of the biochemistry department, will speak at 2:30 p.m. on “Vitamin D: A Case for Basic Science Serving Mankind.”

Events on both days are free and open to the public.

After a two-month move from neighboring offices on Henry Mall, the 200,000 square foot building is now fully occupied with about 200 biochemistry faculty and staff.

DeLuca said the building combines modern labs and offices with an inspiring work environment. Its unique features include two large open-air atriums, secluded work spaces that all face windows, and a work of art sealed in the first-floor terrazzo tile, which contains images of biochemistry research.

Patent royalties from biochemistry research, administered by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, helped pay for more than half of the building”s total costs.