The Life Sciences Technology Building (LSTB) has finally opened its doors this fall after almost three years of construction delays, giving faculty a brand-new home for research.
The building, located directly across from the Anacapa and Santa Rosa Residence Halls, is four stories tall and features a 150-seat lecture hall, state-of-the-art biological research laboratories, classrooms and administrative and faculty offices. A statewide bond funded the approximately $32-million building.
Alice Alldredge, chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB), said UCSB hopes the new biology facilities will attract additional talented faculty members.
“Our space was of such poor quality, we were having trouble recruiting good faculty to maintain the quality of the department,” Alldredge said.
Dennis Clegg, chair of the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Department, said the building contains two labs, one for the EEMB department and one for the MCDB department. Clegg said the MCDB lab is a modern “open lab,” in which all research groups may interact within the same space regardless of the projects they are working on.
The John Carbon Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, an as-of-yet unfilled position, will be given a personal lab located on the second floor of the building, Clegg said. The chair is named after a UCSB faculty member and one of the original scientific advisors at Amgen, which is among the largest biotechnology companies in the world, she said. Amgen is the main contributor to the newly endowed chair.
“This is an opportunity to bring in a world renowned scientist to the faculty,” Clegg said.
The building houses UCSB’s first P3 facility, a lab that is used to conduct higher risk and safety experiments that other labs would be unable to accommodate, Clegg said. Stem cell research, as well as UCSB microbiologist Peggy Cotter’s research on countering threats from bio-terrorism, will be conducted in the P3 facility.
“This facility allows us to do some of the more modern things that biologists do,” Alldredge said.
She also said the new building could not have come at a better time for both departments, as students have become more interested in the biological sciences.
“The number of biology majors and pre-majors is about the highest it’s been in seven years,” Alldredge said.
Increased student interest has spurred the need for bigger facilities and more faculty members.
The new addition also features an outdoor courtyard that ties it to the other buildings around it, such as Noble Hall, Biological Sciences II and the Psychology Building. The designers and architects of the building added large windows that provide light for the offices as well as ocean views for the laboratories. The LSTB’s green and blue colors mixed with the old campus brick further add to its character, Alldredge said.
“The building looks very snazzy and shiny; it pleases my eyes,” said Daniel Yerekhman, a second-year biology major.