T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T      J U L Y  –  A U G U S T   2001



by Fran Pollner

By Act of Congress
This building is designated as
Congressman Louis Stokes served as a distinguished member of the United States Congress for 30 years, representing his native State of Ohio. He was elected to the House Appropriations Committee in 1971, and served on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, where he was a strong proponent of biomedical research. His dedicated service to the nation is marked by hard work and a commitment to fairness. His unwavering support of the National Institutes of Health is defined by judicious advocacy and a determination that through research NIH can help eliminate disparities in health among the country’s minority, poor, underserved and disadvantaged communities.’

Add buildings 2, 3, 7, and some of 6 and you get 50—clearly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Building 50—the Louis Stokes Laboratories—was officially welcomed onto the NIH campus in June in a ceremony enlivened by jazz combos, former HHS secretary Louis Sullivan, and Congressman Stokes himself. This most recent NIH edifice will be home to intramural scientists from NIDDK, NHLBI, NIAID, NIAMS, NHGRI, NIDCD, and NCI—as well as the labs of the new NEI director, Paul Sieving, and the new NIDCR director, Lawrence Tabak.

All told, there are 253 lab modules in Building 50—ranging from 37 to 44 on each of its six floors and arranged in neighborhood clusters. The essence of the research to be conducted in the building is structural and cell biology and microbiology; the essence of its design is to facilitate collaboration. The ease of interaction with colleagues who are "asking similar biological questions" was extolled by Maria Morasso of NIAMS and John Carpten of NHGRI, two tenure-track investigators who could well bump into one another in Building 50 during their respective explorations into the molecular basis of inherited disease and the molecular basis of normal development.

As of early July, floors 2, 3, and most of 4 were occupied; by September’s end, the remaining floors will be filled with the estimated 650 people assigned Building 50 space, more than 600 of whom are scientists, according to the building’s award-winning design and construction project officer, Frank Kutlak.

A state-of-the-art vivarium, in the basement, is managed by NIAID but used by all the institutes, with their allotted space proportional to the square footage of their lab space in the building.

An NMR suite is shared by Ad Bax of NIDDK and Jim Ferretti of NHLBI, and an electron microscopy suite is shared by Alasdair Steven of NIAMS and Sriram Subramaniam of NCI.

For a Building 50 history, go to this website.


Return to Table of Contents