July 17, 2000

After two years of planning and research, groundbreaking has finally begun on the Life Sciences Institute.

“It’s all happening pretty quickly. I think we’re ahead of the curve in terms of other institutions pursuing the life sciences,” said biological chemistry Prof. and Life Sciences Advisory Committee chair Jack Dixon.

The LSI will be located along Washtenaw Avenue, across from Palmer Field, where it will connect the now-vacant area between the Central and Medical campuses. Construction has begun on a mostly-underground parking structure. Work on the main LSI buildings will commence soon, Dixon said.

When finished, the LSI will consist of several buildings that will house laboratories, classrooms, offices, a restaurant and a parking structure.

The LSI is intended for study and research in “what it means to be human, how best to lead a human or humane existence (and) what it is to be a living organism on this planet,” University President Lee Bollinger said in a letter sent to the University community.

Several University departments will combine to create new courses of study and to support new research in fields influencing everything from medicine to the humanities.

Less tangible aspects of the project are also progressing.

“We’re focusing most of our energies in the search for a director,” Dixon said.

The University is currently considering several possible candidates, but won’t be able to make any definite announcements for a few months.

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