by Buck Institute

New Regenerative Medicine Research Center to Open at Buck Institute

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging will celebrate the opening of its new Regenerative Medicine Research Center on Saturday, April 14, 2012. The public is invited to attend an open house from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. that day  -- an event which marks a major expansion of the nation’s first independent research institute focused on extending healthspan -- the healthy years of life.

The 65,708 square-foot three-story structure, built at a cost of $36.5* million, is the third of five buildings approved in the Institute’s master campus plan. It will have space to house up to 12 laboratories and will initially be home for scientists utilizing various stem cell technologies to develop treatments for age-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and macular degeneration, and to conduct other studies aimed at promoting longevity to extend healthspan.

“This event celebrates a new era in aging research at the Buck Institute and affirms our commitment to apply the full promise of stem cell research to our efforts to detect, delay, prevent and treat age-related conditions, ” said Brian Kennedy, PhD, Buck Institute President and CEO. “We are very grateful to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for helping to fund this CIRM Center of Excellence -- one of 12 stem cell facilities approved for funding throughout the state.  We hope you will join us for this special occasion.”

The afternoon program will begin with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony in the courtyard at 1:00 p.m.. The event will feature a series of exhibits for adults and interactive science activities for kids – such as an opportunity to learn about and see water bears, microscopic creatures that are used in aging research.  Children will be able to explore stem cell biology using play dough and everyone will be able to sample liquid nitrogen ice cream, as well as view Mentos soda bomb mini-explosions at a safe distance (at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.). A Passport Map Adventure for children will enable them to have their passports stamped at each venue and be eligible for a prize after participating in each activity and tour.

There will be a stem cell music video produced by a group of San Marin High School students, as well as opportunities to learn from the Buck Institute’s Summer Scholars as they present their project posters. High-powered microscopes will allow visitors to see objects and organisms at the highest magnification.

The open house will also include an inaugural exhibition of “SILVER: A State of Mind”, a photo portrait series featuring 40 x 48-inch prints of 52 women who have let their hair go grey.

Free offsite parking and a shuttle service will be provided to and from the Fireman’s Fund Insurance building at 777 San Marin Drive in Novato to the Institute.  Take the Atherton Avenue and San Marin Drive exit off Highway 101. Proceed west on San Marin Drive.  The Fireman’s Fund Insurance parking lot is on your right.  Look for the shuttle bus at the passenger transit stop.


Construction costs were estimated at $41 million in 2008. Actual construction costs were $36.5 million.

Original estimates set costs at $608/square foot vs. final construction costs of $563/square foot.

These savings are attributed to a slow economy and an aggressive bidding market, and the Buck Institute’s decision to do construction in three phases.

The $4.5 million in savings was deducted from the Buck Institute’s share of the cost of the project. (The Buck Institute received a $20.5 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.) Our match was revised to $16 million.

Three major contractors were hired for the project.  At least 92 subcontractors were involved in the construction, creating approximately 300 jobs in a project that almost entirely involved union labor.

Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO

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