Upstate Medical University says new labs will promote brain research

Oct 23, 2013

Upstate Medical University's new Neuroscience Research Building is on the cusp of bringing brain researchers together at last. The $72 million building is an expansion at Upstate's Institute for Human Performance.

VIPs toured the block-long, five-story building this week. At this point it's a shell, full of empty labs and dark rooms. It's the $50 million worth of high tech equipment coming later this year that'll make a difference in brain research, according to Upstate's Vice President for Research Rosemary Rochford.

"We're going to get microscopy, and this is a way to look inside the brain, so you get better visualization of what the brain is actually doing," Rochford said. "If we ever wonder what you're thinking, those microscopes help us see what we're thinking better. And also some high end... next generation sequence technology."

Rochford says the new space will bring together researchers from different disciplines at Upstate, who all study the science of the brain. She says the way it's set up will lead to collaboration.

"We have what's called the open lab plan," Rochford said. "So it's got the labs, not anybody in their own cubby hole. They're allowed to be moving across to different labs with each other. So that fosters interaction."

Investigators from various disciplines studying things like ADHD and diseases of the eye, as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, will work together in these new labs.

Rochford says the new labs will promote cutting edge research in the world of scientific discovery.

"So it's this imaging," Rochford said. "Looking at the brain while it's working. and seeing what lights up where when you're doing different things. That's where it's really going."