Duquesne University upgrading science, pharmacy laboratories

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Duquesne University is undertaking a $13 million upgrade of its science and pharmacy laboratories to enhance its science programs. It is scheduled to be completed in three years.

The university announced that it received a $4 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in Pittsburgh to expand and improve laboratories in the Mellon Building, which was originally constructed in 1964 with help from a Mellon Foundation grant.

The foundation, which listed more than $1.7 billion in assets in 2009, doesn't discuss grants it provides but it does list education as a focus of it funding.

The $4 million grant represents the largest foundation gift that the university of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students has received to improve academic facilities.

About 30,000 square feet of laboratory space will be renovated and expanded, along with the addition of new technologies.

To make room for laboratory expansion, the university moved its physics department from Mellon Hall to Fisher Hall, with additional project plans to upgrade classrooms in its Bayer Learning Center.

The labs will be used mostly by science and pharmacy students, but the project also will benefit students in nursing and health science programs.

John Plante, vice president for university advancement, said the new labs will allow undergraduate students to work side-by-side with faculty on research projects and expand research capabilities.

"I think there are two parts to this," Mr. Plante said. "Over the past several years, we have also seen an increase in government support for our faculty in teaching and research in recognition of the work we've been doing."

The laboratory project also will solidify the university's role in the region's biotechnology community and benefit initiatives promoting health and wellness among residents of under-served neighborhoods.

Mr. Plante said Duquesne University's Mylan School of Pharmacy, for example, owns and operates a pharmacy on Centre Avenue in the Hill District, where it offers prevention programs and health screening.

David Templeton: dtempleton@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1578.


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