Moving intricate biomedical science research labs to University at Buffalo's new downtown medical school ranks high as one of the biggest challenges to getting everything up and running at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
It's all part of the move to the new $375 million medical school opening soon on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The first phase of the move – of more than 50 offices from UB's South Campus to the new medical school at 955 Main St. – began Oct. 31 and will be followed by additional phases over the next several months, with many research labs moving between January and March, after the school's Jan. 8 opening to students. The next batch of moves is planned for later this month.
But moving the research labs to the third, fourth and fifth floors of the eight-story building is a "challenging process," Anthony A. Campagnari, senior associate dean for research and graduate biomedical education, said in a prepared statement released by UB.
"All research labs are not the same," Campagnari said. "There is often specialized, very expensive equipment that must be disassembled, packed, moved and reassembled by specific vendors to insure proper functioning in the new lab and sometimes to maintain the warranty."
Labs contain a wide range of items such as refrigerators, freezers and centrifuges, along with smaller items, that need to be specially packed and carefully handled when moved. Many labs have glassware that must be individually wrapped.
Equally as important are chemicals and reagents that must be clearly labeled and any hazardous materials requiring specialized packaging and transport by authorized UB environmental health and safety personnel. Chemicals, cell lines and microorganisms need to be be stored and moved at very cold temperatures.
Timing also is critical since many of the research labs have ongoing experiments that cannot be stopped randomly to move a lab, Campagnari said.
UB is staggering the time between moving various labs.
On Thursday, the lab of Suzanne Laychock, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities and professor of pharmacology and toxicology, will move as a test case to see if anything needs to be modified for later lab moves.
Students in the class of 2021, the school's largest at 180 students, will take their first classes at the new school Jan. 8. All classrooms and instructional facilities are expected to be operational on that date.
"We designed the move to take several months on purpose," said Dr. Michael E. Cain, dean of the medical school and vice president for health sciences, said in UB's statement. "It's a complex move and we can't interrupt classes once they've started."