New biomedical research lab opens at Erie’s Penn State Behrend

New biomedical research lab opens at Erie’s Penn State Behrend


No one ever suggested that the $26 million Magee Women’s Research Institute in Erie would grow overnight to its full potential.

But less than two years after plans were first announced, progress is being made, starting with six clinical studies that are underway at the temporary home of the research facility at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Erie.

More:$26 million medical research facility coming to Erie

A handful of employees have been hired, a procurement lab for collecting obstetric specimens has been established and a growing number of women are taking part in clinical studies.

Penn State Behrend Chancellor Ralph Ford speaks during the unveiling of the new $750,000 biomedical translational research lab Thursday at Behrend's Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center. Behrend partnered with the Magee-Womens Research Institute of Erie to create the lab.

Another big step came this past week when Penn State Behrend opened its second new laboratory in the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center in Knowledge Park.

Open lab concept:Penn State Behrend officials open Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center

The new $750,000 facility — Behrend calls it a biomedical translational research lab — is described as a place where faculty researchers and students “will work with partners from the Magee-Women’s Research Institute of Erie to develop viable products, services and commercial start-ups.”

The gleaming new facility, equipped with a special positive airflow filtration system and bio-safety cabinets that prevent contamination, was unveiled late Thursday afternoon at a reception at Behrend’s AMIC building.

Student and faculty researchers were expected to begin work in the space on Friday.

More:Behrend to serve as research partner

“It’s kind of a game-changer for us,” Ivor Knight, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Behrend, said in an interview with the Erie Times-News. “It allows us to work with human cells, keep them alive and do advanced microscopy, looking at and understanding what is going on in these human cells.”

Opportunities for students will be extensive, he said.

“Students are at the core of what we do,” he said. “We have more than 100 students working full-time on campus on research. Some of those students will be working in that lab, beginning Friday.


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