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Neuroscience leaders tour research building construction site

Neuroscience Research Building’s 11 stories have been framed; siding installation has begun

by Tamara BhandariJuly 11, 2022

Matt Miller

Neuroscience leaders and other faculty and staff at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis got an up-close look at the Neuroscience Research Building during a recent tour of the construction site.

The framework of all 11 stories has been built, and the process of wrapping the building in glass is underway. On the day of the tour, workers used giant suction cups to carefully swing 12-foot-high sheets of glass into place. The $616 million construction project is expected to be completed in August 2023.

The tour began in the basement, and its curious participants climbed the stairs up to what will become the entrance lobby — now a vast, dusty, high-ceilinged space. When the building is finished, the lobby will stretch three stories high and the length of the building, and be encased in glass.

Matt Miller
With a little more than a year of construction to go, the Neuroscience Research Building on the Medical Campus is taking shape day by day. Several leaders and others with ties to the building project recently toured the site, guided by employees of McCarthy Building Companies Inc.

“What’s most impressive is the sheer scale of the building,” said David Holtzman, MD, the Barbara Burton and Reuben M. Morriss III Distinguished Professor of Neurology and director of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, which will be moving en masse into the new building. “I’ve seen the plans, but I didn’t really have a sense of what it looks like until I was able to see it in person.”

Key areas on each floor have been blocked out, and the process of outfitting them for specific purposes has begun. Collaborative work areas dominate the center of each floor. Researchers from multiple labs will perform experiments side-by-side in such work areas, a setup designed to maximize cross-lab communication and collaboration. Smaller rooms with shared equipment for specialized scientific techniques encircle the central research areas on each floor. Offices and desk spaces rim the edges of the building, providing views of the rest of the Washington University Medical Campus and the neighboring Cortex Innovation Community. On the third floor, a rooftop terrace that one day will be home to a coffee shop and outdoor seating is beginning to take shape.

Along with Holtzman, the group included the heads of three of the five main neuroscience-related departments — Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology; Linda J. Richards, PhD, the Edison Professor of Neurobiology and head of the Department of Neuroscience; and Gregory J. Zipfel, MD, the Ralph G. Dacey Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Neurological Surgery, and neurosurgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

See here for more information on the construction of the Neuroscience Research Building.

Matt Miller
Gregory Zipfel, MD, (right) head of the neurological surgery department at Washington University, tours the site where the Neuroscience Research Building is being constructed.
Matt Miller
Linda Richards, PhD, head of the neuroscience department at the School of Medicine, snaps photos of the Neuroscience Research Building while touring the construction site.
Matt Miller
Melissa Rockwell-Hopkins (right), associate vice chancellor for operations & facilities management at the School of Medicine, discusses the Neuroscience Research Building with David Holtzman, MD, director of the Hope Center for Neurological Diseases and associate director of the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Rockwell-Hopkins’ position has her overseeing more than $1 billion in construction projects at the school.
Matt Miller
Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, head of the neurology department at the School of Medicine, takes pictures of the Neuroscience Research Building while touring the construction site.
Matt Miller
Department heads and other leaders at the School of Medicine tour the site where the Neuroscience Research Building is being constructed.
Matt Miller
David Holtzman, MD, director of the Hope Center for Neurological Diseases and associate director of the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Washington University, examines the space that may one day be his office in the Neuroscience Research Building under construction on the Medical Campus.
Matt Miller
Gregory Zipfel, MD, (left) head of the neurological surgery department, discusses the Neuroscience Research Building with Richard Stanton, vice chancellor for medical finance and administration, while on a recent tour of the construction site.
Matt Miller
A member of a recent tour of the Neuroscience Research Building site checks out the view of the Medical Campus and surrounding area.

Tamara covers pathology, immunology, medical microbiology, cell biology, neurology, and radiology. She holds a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and in sociology from Yale University, a master's in public health/infectious diseases from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in infectious disease immunology from the University of California, San Diego. Tamara worked in laboratories for about a decade before switching to science journalism. She joined Medical Public Affairs in 2016.