The lab, which includes cell-culture and advanced microscopy equipment, expands the $26 million MWRI-Erie women’s health initiative.
A new biomedical translational research lab at Penn State Behrend will support local medical clinical trials and expand research opportunities for students in the College’s new biochemistry and molecular biology minor.
The lab, which was dedicated on June 24, also advances the Magee-Womens Research Institute of Erie, a $26 million women’s health initiative. Behrend is the academic research and commercialization partner for MWRI-Erie, which already has begun six clinical research trials.
“While we don’t yet know exactly where the research in this lab will lead,” Chancellor Ralph Ford said at the dedication ceremony, “we know that our students and faculty, working alongside the MWRI-Erie team, will foster the discoveries that can lead to viable products, services and commercial start-ups.”
Ivor Knight, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Penn State Behrend, leads a tour of the new biomedical translational research lab.
Credit: Penn State Behrend
The 2,200-square-foot lab is located on the second floor of the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center. It includes a cell-culture lab, an advanced microscopy lab and flex space where faculty and undergraduate student researchers will collaborate.
A second MWRI-affiliated research space – the advanced molecular biology teaching lab in the Otto Behrend Science Building – opened in December.
Two new faculty members are using the labs:
Jeremiah Keyes, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, studies the complex signaling networks that control a cell’s response to stimuli. His research has focused on extracellular signal-related kinase, or ERK, a signaling pathway that is hyperactivated in 90% of all human cancers.
Ashley Russell, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, studies extracellular vesicles, which allow cells to communicate with one another. She also studies the effects of chronic stress during pregnancy.
Jeremiah Keys, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, leads a tour of the new biomedical translational research lab at Penn State Behrend.
Credit: Penn State Behrend
“These research spaces also provide an opportunity for our students to be part of collaborative research teams,” said Ivor Knight, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Behrend. “That’s a game-changer, in terms of career preparation. But the real impact will be felt outside the lab: The work we do in here will directly contribute to new treatments and medical interventions that will improve the health of women in and beyond Erie.”