Editor's note: A transcript of the video follows this story.
Members of the UCSF community joined San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, University of California President Mark Yudof, supporters and neighbors to celebrate the grand opening of the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building on Feb. 9.
The opening of the $123 million serpentine building is a testament to UCSF's leadership in the field, the generosity of donors and the vision of 7 million voters in California whose support of Proposition 71 in 2004 helped make critical investments in stem cell research.
UC President Yudof said the building stands as a "monument to California" and is a reflection of UCSF's pioneering leadership in stem cell research. UCSF was one of two U.S. universities, along with the University of Wisconsin, that pioneered the human embryonic stem cell field beginning in the late 1990s.
The building serves as the headquarters for the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. The program, which extends across all UCSF campuses, is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the United States.
For members of the community, the occasion also signifies the importance of the Parnassus campus in advancing the University's mission. It is strategically located near UCSF Medical Center to spur clinical advancements in regenerative medicine.
Designed by award-winning architect Raphael Viñoly, in collaboration with the design/build team of DPR Construction, SmithGroup Architects and Forell/Elsesser Engineers, the 1,270-ton structure is a series of four split-level floors with terraced grass roofs nestled on a narrow and steep slope. The dramatic building –fitted with steel braces and seismic isolators 90 feet above ground level –is bold, innovative and risk-taking and emblematic of the cutting-edge research conducted inside.
UCSF Stem Cell Science Building: A Monument to California
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Chancellor of UCSF:
Welcome to the official opening of the extraordinary stem cell building that rises above us. Today signifies a major milestone in the history of UCSF's stem cell research program. It's also a great day for the citizens of California whose support of Proposition 71 in 2004 helped make this moment possible for the field of stem cell research and more importantly for the human race.
To look up now and see an entire building dedicated to stem cell research, and created with state and private funds, is truly gratifying. It is the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building. And it is the headquarters of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF, a program that extends across the university. I know all of you join me in looking forward to watching the progress that emerges from this building and beyond in the years to come.
Mark Yudof, President, University of California:
The stem cell building, where we gather today, is a monument to UCSF's pioneering research of stem cell science and investigations with the potential literally to rewrite the book on human wellbeing. But it's also a monument to California. With all the handwringing brought on by California's budget woes, it is sometimes very easy to forget that California is still a magical place, a place where people can come together to dream, and to dare, and to do big things.
Robert Klein, Chair, Governing Board, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine:
UC San Francisco has a special significance for me, because my son with juvenile diabetes owes a remarkable debt to this institution. It was here, on a day like today, when the UC San Francisco scientists announced the antecedent critical discovery that led to artificial human insulin that keeps my son alive every day. It is this research that brings us the possibility of changing the future of human suffering.
Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco:
I am thrilled to celebrate this grand opening. I'm looking forward to the groundbreaking research and therapies that will revolutionize how we treat diseases. I'm looking for those breakthroughs that will cause this whole world to know that San Francisco wants to be and will be in the forefront with this kind of research.
Arnold Kriegstein, Director, Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF:
When I was first recruited here six years ago, the stem cell program was really just getting off the ground. There were some laboratories already set up that were well underway, but there were also large gaps in the program. It was still very dispersed. Laboratories were scattered on this campus and also in Mission Bay. And we had the wish someday of putting everyone together in a single facility. We actually broke ground two years ago. And, as you know, just about a month ago, we moved into the new building.
Tippi MacKenzie, Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Surgery:
There are basic science labs. There are clinicians working the building. There are, you know, people from all realms of stem cell science really working together towards a common goal. And the open structure of the building really facilitates that both on an intellectual level and on a physical level.
Susan Fisher, Director, Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program:
As a scientist, it's a thrilling opportunity to be in a new state-of-the-art facility. The work we do with human cells and tissues requires a special atmosphere, things like extremely clean air and extremely clean environment. And this building offers such an environment. So for us, it's thrilling.
Michael Toporkoff, Associate Director, Capital Programs:
This is definitely an engineering and a construction feat. Most of the endeavor went into the seismic isolation and locating the building on this difficult site. But because of the complexity of the site itself, we have this dramatic design.
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Chancellor of UCSF:
What I think is really exciting about today is it's a chance to celebrate a couple of things that are really special about stem cells and UCSF. One is that we have benefited as have the citizens of California, and frankly all of human kind around the world, from seven million Californian voters who voted to spend $3 billion of state money towards stem cell research. So UCSF and our scientists and humanity are benefiting from that. It really does signify everything we mean when we say "advancing health worldwide."