Campus Life

Texas A&M Expands Its Medical Research Footprint

The new 155,077 square-foot Medical Research and Education Building II more than doubles the existing research space for the Health Science Center.
By Mary Leigh Meyer, Texas A&M University Health Science Center June 26, 2019

Digital rendering of the Medical Research and Education Building II.
Digital rendering of the Medical Research and Education Building II.

Texas A&M Health Science Center

The Texas A&M University Health Science Center hosted a grand opening to celebrate the newest addition to its main campus in Bryan, Texas, the Medical Research and Education Building II (MREB II). The 155,077 square-foot building more than doubles the existing research space for the Health Science Center and paves the way to improved patient care across the state of Texas.

Immediately next door and attached to the original Medical Research and Education Building I (MREB I), the addition of MREB II adds the square footage needed to bring together all the basic science departments of the College of Medicine to one campus. Previously, the college housed laboratories in MREB I as well as on campuses in College Station and Temple.

“This beautiful, state-of-the-art building will be a home for medical training and research for generations to come, meeting the needs of both ambitious Aggies and the community at large,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “The Texas A&M System appreciates the support of our state leaders for making this facility a reality.”

The completion of the Medical Research and Education Building complex expands the Health Science Center’s presence on Highway 47. The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus, also on the same highway, continues to grow and to train students in everything from criminal justice to biology, health science and public safety management. Through the diversification and expansion along the Highway 47 corridor, Texas A&M continues to expand its impact on the state, nation and world.

MREB II also opens doors for research collaborations across the system. The laboratories within MREB II bring in research resources never housed at The Texas A&M University System before, such as scanning probe microscopes and high-speed confocal microscopes. Similarly, the research space in MREB I and II offer Texas A&M undergraduate and graduate students more opportunities to become engaged in medical research.

This superb facility is emblematic of Texas A&M’s hallmark approach to research and education: interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “Great work is achieved when the best minds from across disciplines join together to achieve a common goal. Promoting health and wellness for people across the globe is vital to our service mission. I wish much continued success to our College of Medicine students, faculty and staff as they forge new frontiers within these walls.”

A significant impact of the Bryan campus’ research growth is the influence on interdisciplinary and interprofessional research. The addition of MREB II offers the Health Science Center more opportunity to collaborate with Texas A&M investigators and those across the Health Science Center colleges. Immediately adjacent to the Texas A&M College of Nursing and up the road from the Texas A&M School of Public Health and the College Station campus of the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, the researchers in MREB I and MREB II can work together to find more interdisciplinary solutions to the health problems facing the country.

“As a whole, the Health Science Center’s research footprint is rapidly expanding across the state,” said Carrie L. Byington ’85, MD, vice chancellor for health services at The Texas A&M University System, senior vice president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “This centralization significantly increases the opportunity for more collaborative and synergistic research among these groups here and with our other research centers across the state.”

The Health Science Center’s research capabilities are also expanding in Dallas, with the Texas A&M College of Dentistry’s newest facility, and in Houston, with the renovations of a new facility to house the Health Science Center’s education programs in Houston, including the EnMed program and development of the TMC3 research campus in the Texas Medical Center.

In total, MREB II boasts 48 research typology laboratories, 36 procedure rooms, 28 tissue culture rooms, six drosophila rooms, six imaging cores, one MRI room and one confocal room. Other key rooms within the building are a vivarium, multidisciplinary laboratory that holds up to 240 students and a biosafety level three laboratory.

By approaching medical research from different angles, the Health Science Center is able to develop new therapies for devastating diseases like cancer and heart conditions, demonstrate mechanisms behind conditions like obesity or addiction, identify genetic differences to apply new approaches to patient-centered care and address the needs of our communities in the areas of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

“Completion of MREB II demonstrates our confidence in the College of Medicine, the Health Science Center and our faculty, staff, and student researchers. The discoveries made in MREB II will help us deliver on our promise to bring evidence-based solutions to the people of Texas and beyond,” Byington said.

This article by Mary Leigh Meyer originally appeared in Vital Record.

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