The Altec Styslinger Genomic Medicine and Data Sciences Building at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is expected to increase research funding, bring in more researchers and have a profound effect on health care of residents in Alabama.
Gov. Kay Ivey recently announced the project would receive $50 million in state funding from the Public School and College Authority. This is in addition to the Jefferson County pledge of $5 million and a $10 million donation from Lee Styslinger III and the Altec-Styslinger Foundation.
“Genomic medicine — personalized medicine — is the future of health care,” said Finis St. John, chancellor of the University of Alabama System. “State funding will allow UAB to create a state-of-the-art genomic medicine facility in Birmingham and advance the university’s leadership role in a field that promises to revolutionize health care through its focus on a patient’s genetic makeup. In addition to the governor’s foresight and dedication to this project, this transformational project would not have been possible without the support of our elected leaders and a generous gift from the Altec-Styslinger Foundation.”
The new facility, which has a construction cost of $52.1 million, will include the renovation of the existing Lyons-Harrison Research Building. It will encompass 145,000 square feet of new computational research, research support, office, administrative and scientific collaboration and meeting spaces designed to meet the specific needs of genomics and precision medicine investigators and their programs.
Once operational, the building is expected to attract up to 50 additional researchers and 300 support staff. “The facility will be pivotal to recruiting and retaining high-level researchers,” said Dr. Selwyn Vickers, senior vice president of medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at UAB. Vickers estimates that attracting the researchers will also result in an increase of $75 million to $85 million in research funding.
The Altec Styslinger Genomic Medicine and Data Sciences Building will house the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute and the Informatics Institute, as well as the translational science and staff from the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Office of Sponsored Programs.
“Genomics has emerged as a major driving force in biomedical research,” says Dr. Bruce Korf, associate dean for Genomic Medicine at UAB. “Every cell contains genetic information, so genomics cuts across every aspect of medicine and has relevance to all areas of health and disease.”