In a recent news release, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces that it will host a scientific symposium and dedication ceremony March 31 to April 1 in celebration of the completion of the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. The NIH notes that the facility joins neuroscientists from 10 institutes and centers across the NIH in an effort facilitate new advances in the understanding of the nervous system in health and disease.
The release reports that the facility’s namesake John Edward Porter, honoree and former congressman is slated to make remarks during the dedication. Porter was a member of the House Appropriations Committee, chair of the subcommittee that funded NIH, and a supporter of biomedical research and the NIH’s mission. Porter served in the House for more than 20 years, representing a district in Illinois.
Additional speakers include Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, NIH director, Sen Tom Harkin (D, Iowa), Sen Mark Kirk (R, Ill), and Story C. Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The inaugural event for the building features five scientific sessions with presentations by leading neuroscientists from across the United States and within the NIH. Topics are scheduled to include neuronal circuits, cell biology, and the genetics of brain disease.
James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), states that, “The symposium will highlight cutting-edge neuroscience research that is conducted here at NIH and around the country. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together an esteemed group of scientists and hear about the latest findings in neuroscience.”
The Porter Neuroscience Research Center offers 500,000 feet of open laboratory space and offices, shared resources and facilities, and other design elements customized to encourage collaboration among scientists.
The design hinges on the potential for great ideas to result from casual conversations between researchers, says Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “The open design of the Porter Research Center will certainly encourage those types of interactions,” Insel notes.
Landis adds that the concept of the building, “first arose when we saw a need for a place that could bring together scientists studying all aspects of the brain. We are delighted that the Porter Neuroscience Research Center is officially open and look forward to many innovative discoveries that are bound to come from the programs in that building,” Landis says.
The Porter Neuroscience Research Center is comprised of two buildings connected by a glass atrium. Construction on the first building began in 2001, the release says, and was completed in 2004. The second phase of the center was build with a range of environmentally friendly design features that include solar cells, geothermal energy system, and energy efficient lighting.
Collins emphasizes the hope that, “people will come from every corner of the earth to see and work in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, a magnificent tribute to the most important and challenging scientific endeavor we face—understanding the human brain.”