Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building is located in the University of Colorado's Boulder campus. Image courtesy of Patrick Campbell / University of Colorado.
The new biotechnology research facility of the University of Colorado broke ground in September 2009. Image courtesy of Casey A. Cass / University of Colorado.
The facility has been built based on the concept of research neighbourhoods. Image courtesy of Glenn Asakawa / University of Colorado.
The facility's labs are modular and feature state-of-the-art equipment. Image courtesy of Casey A. Cass / University of Colorado.
The design of the facility encourages co-operation among scientists from various disciplines. Image courtesy of Glenn Asakawa / University of Colorado.

University of Colorado’s Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (JSCBB) was opened in April 2012. The new research and teaching facility located at the university’s Boulder campus in the US has been built with an investment of $160m.

JSCBB will house 60 faculty members and nearly 500 researchers from various fields, including biology, physics, engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, computer science and medicine.

It will help in fostering innovation and discovery, to help find cures or treatments for illnesses such as cancer, inherited diseases and heart disease, along with the creation of biofuels and tissue engineering.

The bioscience industry in Colorado generates nearly $400m in taxes annually for the state. It employs about 36,000 people across more than 375 companies.

Purpose of the University of Colorado’s new biotechnology research facility

JSCBB includes four wings, which house the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Division of Biochemistry, the University of Colorado Biofrontiers Institute and the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2).

The main areas of research focus include synthetic tissue engineering to regenerate cartilage for human joints, bioengineering of heart valves and the development of liquid membrane technology to capture carbon dioxide.

Some of the most famous scientists of the Colorado University will be working at the new facility, including Tom Cech, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989.

The facility will enable collaboration between biotech companies and academia. Biotech companies will be able to run tests using the state-of-the-art equipment available at the facility. They will be able to understand the various biological processes and improve the design of medicines being developed.

Design of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (JSCBB)

The new building is spread over an area of 336,800 square feet and has been designed based around the concept of research neighbourhoods. It consists of a ‘main street’ corridor, around which several clusters of offices are located. This design fosters cooperation among scientists from various disciplines.

Scientists are currently scattered across various buildings of the university. The facility also features spacious lounge areas, aimed at facilitating interaction between scientists.

The specialised temperature controlled labs are modular and can be reconfigured based on the requirements of the scientists and students. They feature high-tech equipment which can be used by scientists and researchers to carry out research in various disciplines.

The labs feature advanced genomic sequencing equipment, which can be used to conduct millions of genetic, chemical and pharmacological tests. X-ray crystallography machines to examine atoms, proteomics machines to analyse protein data and mass spectrometry equipment are also all part of the facility.

The new building has been built to meet LEED Platinum rating standards. The mechanical and electrical systems of the facility incorporate energy saving features.

Construction of the JSCBB at Colorado University’s Boulder campus

The project broke ground in September 2009, with the topping out ceremony taking place in November 2010. The building required the use of 975,000 bricks and 10,000 pieces of cut limestone for its construction. The windows of the facility required 3,400 pieces of glass.

The four wings of the facility required 44 miles of piping work. The ductwork running through the building weighs about 338t. The construction phase of the facility created nearly 600 jobs.

Financial backing for the biotech research complex and contractors

The research facility was funded through private donations totalling about $48m. Marvin Caruthers, a professor of the chemistry and biochemistry department at the university, committed $20m towards the project. The facility has been named after his late wife Jennie Smoly Caruthers.

ConocoPhillips provided $1m to the facility and plans to provide another $2.5m in the future. The National Institutes of Health provided $15m through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Colorado University and the state also provided funds towards the construction of the facility. By 2014, the university plans to raise $75m in funds for the facility.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects and HDR Architects designed the facility. The general contractor for the facility was JE Dunn Rocky Mountain.