graphicUniversity of Virginia
UVa Top News Daily
U.Va. Health System

Peter Jump,
(434) 924-1501

For Additional Information:
Please contact University News Services at (434) 924-7116.

Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

2005 News Releases
2004 News Releases

2003 News Releases
2002 News Releases
2001 News Releases

2000 News Releases
1999 News Releases

U.Va. Breaks Ground For New Medical Research Building

September 19, 2005-- The University of Virginia has broken ground on a new medical science building devoted to research on vaccine therapy, immunology, infectious diseases, cancer and other areas of biomedicine. With 102,000 net square feet of research space, the structure will be named the Carter-Harrison Research Building to honor two families who have provided generous support for the project.

Helping to meet a pressing need for new laboratory space at the University, particularly for biomedical investigations, the building will house 60 research teams comprising some 240 scientists and lab personnel. The $70.7 million building is being financed with a combination of donor support, $20 million in other University resources, and $24.2 3 million from a state bond issue approved by Virginia voters in 2002.

"By enabling us to expand our programs in science and biomedicine, the Carter-Harrison Research Building will address one of the University's highest priorities. It also will help us meet our goal of increasing investment in research related directly to the well-being of Virginia's people," said University President John T. Casteen III. "We can look forward with gratitude to the lifesaving therapies that will result directly from work in this building."

The Board of Visitors voted this past summer to name the facility for the Carter and Harrison families, who have been instrumental in advancing medical research at the University. The Beirne B. Carter Foundation made a generous gift to support immunology studies in the new building, in which a floor and a half will be devoted to the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research. The center was founded in 1988 through the generosity of the late Beirne Carter, who died in 1989. A Virginia businessman and philanthropist, he was a member of the University’s Class of 1948. He was the chairman and chief executive officer of Carter Machinery Company, Inc., which under his leadership became one of the largest and most successful Caterpillar dealers in the country. He established the Beirne B. Carter Foundation in 1986.

Dr. Arthur Garson Jr.
Photo by Dan Addison
Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the University’s School of Medicine

Through the Harrison Family Foundation, the children of the late Mary and David Harrison also made a significant gift toward the building’s construction. A member of the University’s Class of 1939 who also received a law degree from U.Va. in 1941, David A. Harrison III was a retired lawyer and investment banker. Mr. Harrison, who died in 2002, and Mrs. Harrison, who died in 1990, were among the University’s most generous benefactors. Together, they provided exceptional gifts not only for medicine but also for law, athletics, the library, undergraduate research, historical archaeology and many other areas.

Lack of sufficient research space is the single greatest obstacle facing University scientists who are making promising advances in fighting cancer,  and hepatitis C and many other diseases, as well as developing vaccines for biodefense, and many other diseases, according to Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the University’s School of Medicine. Expanded laboratory facilities, he said, are vital to launching new research initiatives, to supporting the work of top scientists, and to competing for public and private research funding. New facilities also will help boost the regional economy and create new employment opportunities for Virginians.

“The Carter-Harrison Research Building will provide a critical mass of quality space that allows us to progress on multiple fronts. The space will be devoted to cancer, immunology and infectious diseases. At the very basic level, there are similar mechanisms involved in many of these diseases, and the layout of this building will foster the collaboration necessary for breakthroughs,” said Dean Garson. “It will give the University greater capacity to recruit and retain world-class investigators, it will inspire fruitful collaborations across disciplines and across the University, and it will provide an atmosphere where young researchers can be challenged, mentored, and supported in their work. The potential benefits to medical science are enormous.”

Similar in design to MR-5, a neighboring research facility that opened in 2002, the Carter-Harrison Research Building will provide investigators with easy access to the intellectual and technological resources of the Health System and other parts of the University. It also will promote translational research, in which scientists strive to convert discoveries at the lab bench into new treatments at the bedside.

An example of research programs to be housed in the new building is the Human Immune Therapy Center. Directed by Dr. Craig Slingluff, the center has achieved international prominence for its efforts to stimulate the human immune response to destroy cancer cells. A melanoma vaccine is showing remarkable promise in clinical trials and is pointing the way to vaccines for other cancers. The Harrison and Carter family foundations are among the major supporters of the Human Immune Therapy Center.

  Index of Archives
  Top News site edited and maintained by Karen Asher; releases posted by Sally Barbour.
Last Modified: Tuesday January 24, 2017
© 2005 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia