Newswise — MAYWOOD, IL. -- Loyola University Chicago opened an innovative medical research and education center April 21 on its Health Sciences Division campus in Maywood, Illinois. The five-story, $137 million Center for Translational Research and Education (CTRE) is the collaborative initiative of Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Health System, and Trinity Health.

The 225,000 square-foot building will house 500 students, faculty, and staff. It’s the biggest and most complex building the university has ever built, and a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is expected. The CTRE includes two two-story atriums to promote outside-the-lab collaboration, a 90-seat seminar room, and a 265-seat auditorium for lectures and health-related community events. “In medicine, research is a team effort and collaboration leads to innovative discoveries,” said John P. Pelissero, PhD, interim president of Loyola University Chicago. “This state-of-the-art facility will bring together the Stritch School of Medicine, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola University Health System on an exciting cooperative journey with one unified goal – the rapid translation of fundamental science discoveries into real treatments for human health.” The CTRE features large, open lab spaces, making it easier for researchers from different teams and scientific disciplines to interact and share equipment. The second and third floors are connected by internal stairs, enabling researchers to share a common meeting space and kitchen. The fourth and fifth floors have similar collaboration spaces. The CTRE was jointly funded by Loyola University Chicago and Trinity Health, which acquired Loyola University Health System in 2011. “We are very excited to partner with Loyola University Chicago in building this world-class center,” said Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, president and CEO of Trinity Health. “The CTRE represents our most significant investment to date in translational research and education.” Larry M. Goldberg, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System, noted that Loyola is one of few academic medical centers in the country in which a hospital, medical school, nursing school and major research center are connected on one campus. “This provides us with a unique synergy to develop leading-edge treatments, from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside,” Goldberg said.

The CTRE is designed to foster collaboration and productivity among scientists. It closely aligns with the University’s five-year strategic plan, Plan 2020: Building a More Just, Humane, and Sustainable World, which includes a focus of promoting multidisciplinary collaboration to address societal challenges. Scientists in areas such as public health, infectious disease and immunology, burn and shock trauma, cardiovascular, and oncology occupy the building. A few examples of research being conducted at the CTRE include: Understanding heart failure. A lab headed by Seth L. Robia, PhD, associate professor and co-director of Loyola’s Cardiovascular Research Institute, is working to understand how heart muscle responds to exercise and rest, and how this process breaks down in heart failure. Can Vitamin D help depression and diabetes? Sue M. Penckofer, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor in the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, has received a $1.49 million National Institutes of Health grant to study whether vitamin D supplementation can relieve depression in women with type 2 diabetes – and help them better manage their diabetes. What causes Parkinson’s disease? A protein called alpha-synuclein plays an important role in the normal functioning of healthy brain cells. However, in Parkinson's disease patients, the protein malfunctions, killing brain cells responsible for motor control. William P. Flavin, MD/PhD student, Stritch School of Medicine, is using microscopic techniques to follow the protein’s movement and function.