Campus: San Diego State University -- October 29, 2004

SDSU BioScience Center to House Pioneering Research into Links Between Heart Disease and Infectious Organisms

San Diego State University officially broke ground today on the $14.3 million BioScience Center, an innovative research facility that will make SDSU a major contributor to the investigation of the emerging link between infectious diseases and the nation's No. 1 killer - heart disease.

The newest addition to SDSU's suite of modern science buildings will house the SDSU Heart Institute, the Center for Microbial Sciences and other core programs and facilities. With more than 37,000 square feet of usable space, the SDSU BioScience Center will feature four floors of research laboratories and a 100-seat auditorium. It is scheduled for completion in January 2006.

"The research program in the BioScience Center will emphasize a unique combination of microbiology and cardiovascular research, two of SDSU's research strengths, with the goal of developing therapeutic approaches to the management of heart disease resulting from chronic infections," said Judith Zyskind, Ph.D., director of the BioScience Center.

Diseases such as athlerosclerosis and diabetes have been thought to result from lifestyle and genetic factors. The traditional understanding of these significant health problems is changing because of a growing body of research nationwide shows that pathogenic organisms may play a crucial role.

Joseph Panetta, president and CEO of BIOCOM, the association representing Southern California's life science community, said the SDSU BioScience Center will enhance San Diego's already vibrant biotech cluster.

"The SDSU BioScience Center will be a significant hub for some of the best minds in academia and in the business world who are dedicated to solving some of the most challenging health problems we face today," Panetta said. "Additionally, SDSU students are a major source of research staff for the region's biotech industry, and their experience within the Center will make them highly desirable workers for local life science companies and institutes."

Among the key SDSU researchers set to work with the SDSU BioScience Center are:

  • Chris Glembotski, Ph.D., chair of the SDSU Biology Department, director of the SDSU Heart Institute - His fields of research include cell and molecular biology of heart disease, and the regulation of cardiac growth, apoptosis, and gene expression.

  • Roger Davis, Ph.D., professor of Biology - His fields of research include gene therapy, molecular mechanisms of protein secretion, and molecular genetics of atherosclerosis.

  • Stanley Maloy, Ph.D., professor of Biology and director of the SDSU Center for Microbial Sciences - His research focuses on using genetic, molecular, biochemical and genomic approaches to develop new antibiotics and microbial biotechnology. He also is the current president of American Society for Microbiology, the world's largest life science society and an influential force in advancing microbiology research.
Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego), a champion of medical research funding who spearheaded a five-year appropriation effort in Congress to double the National Institutes of Health's research budget, attended the groundbreaking.

"As a result of the doubling of the NIH funding, our nation is seeing major investments in basic research that are leading to accelerated vaccine development, a new understanding of diseases, and incredible new drugs and therapeutics coming onto the market," Cunningham said. "I'm proud to see San Diego's emergence as a leader in the biotech field, and projects like the BioScience Center will keep SDSU and the San Diego region at the cutting edge for developing new life-saving knowledge and technologies."

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber said the BioScience Center is a natural next step for SDSU as it continues to distinguish itself as an outstanding university.

"Our faculty and staff have brought in more than $500 million in research grants and program contracts since 2000, and facilities such as the BioScience Center will create exciting new possibilities for more projects sponsored by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Weber said. "We're creating an environment that will keep our faculty and students on the leading edge of discovery."

Other new science and research buildings on campus include the $31 million, 106,000 sq. ft. Chemical Sciences Laboratory built three years ago, and the Geology, Mathematics and Computer Science (GMCS) building, which finished a $23.4 million complete renovation last year. In addition, a Coastal Waters Laboratory is presently under construction at the site of the former Naval Training Center.

The San Diego State University Foundation (a nonprofit auxiliary of the university that facilitates the grant application process for faculty members and administers grants and contracts for the university) supplied $8 million in financing for the SDSU BioScience Center. Grants and donations will provide the remaining funds necessary to complete the project.

Contact: Aaron Hoskins, SDSU College of Extended Studies (619) 594-1119,

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