by Pat Kramer
Some of City of Hope’s recently arrived scientists have moved into a new haven that houses critical laboratory space and equipment meant to boost advances in the organization’s research efforts.
The Flower Building, less than a mile away from the Duarte campus at 1710 Flower Ave., off Highland Avenue, opened in mid-October. City of Hope leaders said the research space plays a key part in achieving national excellence in developmental therapeutics, one of the elements of the institution’s strategic plan.
Some of Beckman Research Institute’s newest research laboratories and cores — including Synthetic Chemistry, High Throughput Screening, and Functional Genomics — have begun moving into the building. These new core facilities will support research throughout City of Hope.
Between 75 and 95 staff members will work within the building’s 24,000 square feet of developed laboratory space. The new facility includes five 2,300 to 3,000-square-foot lab spaces, as well as dozens of smaller labs. The building, purchased in 2003, formerly housed employees from Baxter International Inc. and will continue undergoing renovation during the coming weeks.
“With the institute’s recent recruitment of new investigators, we needed large amounts of space to provide labs for them,” said support scientist Jim Bolen. “Some of the investigators housed at Flower will eventually relocate to the Familian BMT building when its renovations are finished. The space provided at Flower and Familian BMT will allow us to continue to recruit while building larger facilities with increased research space.”
The Flower Building welcomes an expanding Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program led by Richard Jove, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine, and Yun Yen, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Clinical and Molecular Pharmacology.
Flower will house these newly expanded Functional Genomics Core facilities and resources: Affymetrix GeneChip array and microarray data analysis, directed by Xiwei Wu, M.D., Ph.D.; RNAi and validation, directed by Claudia Kowolik, Ph.D.; and genetic markers, directed by Garry Larson, Ph.D. City of Hope researchers will have access to core facilities and services at Flower by year’s end, Jove said.
Jove also is enthusiastic about advances in synthetic chemistry bound to come out of the Flower Building, which houses newly recruited chemist David Horne, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine.
“Dr. Horne is taking the Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program to a whole new level with his synthetic organic chemistry group,” said Jove. “While we have always had a really strong peptide and DNA synthesis group, this new synthetic capability is central to the strategic plan to develop molecular targeted therapies for more effective and less toxic treatment of cancer.”
The High Throughput Screening (HTS) core facility also adds another key resource. M.L. Richard Yip, Ph.D., associate research scientist in the Department of Molecular Medicine and the Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program, leads the HTS core.
Dr. Yip’s work will greatly facilitate City of Hope’s efforts in identifying small molecules and natural products that have potential to be developed into cancer therapies,” said Jove, “while Dr. Horne will lead City of Hope’s efforts in translational medicinal chemistry, which aims to turn discoveries of these anticancer compounds into new drug treatments for cancer patients.”
Theodore G. Krontiris, M.D., Ph.D., director of City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Fong-Fong Chu, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Radiation Biology, also have labs in Flower.
New investigators Janice Huss, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Gene Regulation and Drug Discovery, Huiqing Wu, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Anatomic Pathology, Tiziano Barberi, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurosciences, and James Ito, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, will temporarily work in the Flower Building until renovation of Familian BMT is complete.