Morrison Center expands UNL’s research capacity

jbrehm2, March 31, 2014

Morrison Center expands UNL’s research capacity

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln on April 2 celebrated the completion of a new addition to the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, home to the Nebraska Center for Virology on UNL’s East Campus.

The new wing, north of the original structure, adds about 30,000 square feet to the existing 67,000-square-foot building. It features seven research labs, support facilities and offices, plus a seminar room with video-conferencing capabilities that can seat 150 people.

Charles Wood, Lewis Lehr/3M University Professor and director of the center, said the addition will provide a centralized facility with state-of-the-art equipment for analysis of many kinds of cells and tissues for research, not only for faculty in the center but for other on- and off-campus researchers. It also will enable the center to expand its research capacity by recruiting and adding up to six senior and junior faculty.

“This expansion will increase our research space and the number of researchers, with a focus on plant, animal and human viruses,” Wood said. “The addition will allow the center to have one of the largest cluster of virologists conducting interdisciplinary study under one roof in the country.”

The Morrison Center opened in April 2008. The original $21 million research facility has housed most of the UNL virologists who are affiliated with the Nebraska Center for Virology, one of the university’s signature research programs. Those faculty members worked at several locations across campus before moving into the new building.

The building is named for Ken Morrison, a Hastings businessman, University of Nebraska Foundation trustee and longtime UNL supporter who provided the lead private gift for the original construction.

The building was designed to accommodate future expansion, and in 2009, UNL was awarded $8 million from the National Institutes of Health to expand the center. The grant, from NIH’s National Center for Research Resources, was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Nebraska Center for Virology was established in 2000 as an NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence. It links scientists at UNL, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University who study the leading viral threats to people, animals and plants.

“The addition will also expand our capability to develop translational research programs with partnerships with industrial partners,” Wood said. “These types of research could include vaccines and anti-viral drugs.”

NIH Grants: 1 C06 RR020096-01A1; 1 P30 RR031151-01; 5 P30 RR031151-02, 8 P30 GM103509-03; 5 P30 GM103509-04