Cincinnati Children's Dedicates New 415,000-Square-Foot Research Building

Location S Broadens National Leadership In Pediatric Research Intended to Improve Child Health

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center today opened a new 12-story, 415,000-square-foot research building that strengthens and expands Cincinnati Children's leadership in conducting pediatric research focused on changing the outcome for children around the world.

The opening of the facility, known as Location S, is a milestone that makes Cincinnati Children's one of the largest pediatric research programs in the nation, with nearly 1 million square feet of research space.

"Location S reflects our commitment to create new knowledge that cures disease," said Arnold Strauss, MD, director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation and chair of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati. "While flat federal funding is prompting many other institutions to scale back research efforts, this new facility enables us to continue attracting the best scientists from around the world. Increasing the amount of basic and translational research we do leads to new knowledge and more discoveries that can improve health and change outcomes for children worldwide."

Over the last decade, Cincinnati Children's has significantly expanded its research initiatives in basic, translational (research that provides a link between laboratory science and human trials), clinical and quality improvement research. Location S will house about 1,500 of the Research Foundation's 3,000 employees.

Among the many areas of research emphasis in Location S will be:

Location S is designed to promote opportunities for productive collaborations across disciplines by locating researchers geographically according to broad, overlapping areas of scientific interest. For example, scientists from different medical center divisions – including immunobiology, molecular immunology, allergy and immunology,gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition – will be housed as an "immunology matrix" to stimulate the sharing of ideas about research focused on the immune system.

A larger research infrastructure at Cincinnati Children's will provide investigators with additional core resources to support laboratory and translational research. This includes a Bioinformatics Core that provides statistical and computational analysis for complex experiments. This capability is made possible by a supercomputer built with funding from a $25-million Ohio Third Frontier Grant. The supercomputer is housed in a massive data center at Location S.

Cincinnati Children's ranks second nationally among all pediatric institutions in funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH). In fiscal year 1992, Cincinnati Children's received $8.9 million in NIH funding. In fiscal year 2007, Cincinnati Children's received $92 million in NIH grants. Total sponsored programs in 2007 reached $121 million.

The expansion of research programs at Cincinnati Children's is consistent with the overall growth of the medical center. At the end of 2007 fiscal year on June 30, Cincinnati Children's had 9,760 employees and now that number exceeds 10,000. There were more than 917,000 patient encounters during fiscal 2007 and revenue exceeded $1.1 billion.

"Working toward our vision of being the leader in improving child health depends on the robust creation of new knowledge and innovation," said Jim Anderson, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children's. "Location S also expands opportunities for the commercialization of technology and for bioscience industry start-ups. It will be an engine for growth locally, regionally and for the entire state of Ohio."

Building Location S required more than 5,000 tons of bricks and mortar, 360 miles of telephone and data wire, and 312 miles of electrical wire. Seven floors of Location S have dedicated laboratory space, and there are more than 6,000 linear feet of laboratory benches.

Since the opening of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation in 1931, investigators have made major research contributions to pediatrics. Among those who have worked at Cincinnati Children's are:

  • Albert Sabin, MD, who developed the oral polio vaccine
  • Josef Warkany, MD, the father of teratology – the study of birth defects
  • Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, whose work on surfactant proteins led to a therapy that saves the lives of thousands of newborns every year
  • Helen Berry, MA, a pioneer in developing techniques for screening infants for PKU and one of the first to advocate for diet for life to achieve good metabolic control

Cincinnati Children's also gave the world the development and testing of a rotavirus vaccine that is now available to children in 60 countries, including those in the European Union. Hundreds of thousands of children, most of them in the Third World, are estimated to die each year due to rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.

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Nick Miller