Rice and Texas Children's Collaborate
by: Laurie Johnson, July 27, 2009 11:07:40 pm
The 10-story, $300 million BioScience Research Collaboration building, or BRC, sits on the corner of Main and University. It literally straddles the divide between Rice University and the Texas Medical Center.
Rice President David Leebron says Houston has perhaps the greatest conglomeration of medical care and medical research institutions in the world.
"But whether or not we will in fact be the greatest medical center in the world, will depend much more on what we are able to do together than what we are able to do as individual institutions."
The BRC facility was designed with the intention of bringing multiple organizations and disciplines under the same roof. Rice Provost Eugene Levy says they want the BRC to foster competition and cooperation.
"Our real competitors here in Houston are not the institutions across the street, they are the complexes of institutions in other cities and other geographies — San Diego and Boston and Chicago and Seattle and in the research triangle. We cannot afford to further our energies and our resources competing with one another. We need increasing closeness and cooperation to compete effectively with these other successful regions that have no agenda more important to them than to eat our lunch."
Texas Children's Hospital is the first to lease space in the building. They'll occupy the eighth floor with labs where doctors can work alongside scientists. Hospital President Mark Wallace.
"Texas Children's is very, very proud, as Eugene said, to be the very first partner in the BRC — this amazing venture that will provide the catalyst for new discoveries in medical research right here in Houston and the TMC."
David Leebron says Rice is in discussions with several other TMC institutions about further collaborations.
"This building, despite its enormous cost, can accomplish nothing on its own. It's just a shell. But with the faculty who are doing their work here, with their graduate students, with our undergraduate at Rice, I truly believe the possibilities are limitless."
The BRC facility is still under construction, although the first few teams of Rice researchers have moved in. It's scheduled for completion in January.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.