June 6, 2018

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Chesterfield Building Welcomes First Wave of Duke Researchers


[Originally posted by Duke Today— June 6, 2018]

 

A renovated cigarette factory is the latest Duke innovation hub, where creativity and collaboration will be nurtured

 

A former cigarette factory, The Chesterfield has become Duke's newest downtown research hub. Photo by Triggs Photography.

 

Ask the Duke employees who work in The Chesterfield what they like about the cigarette-factory-turned-research-hub, and they’ll likely mention the natural light that streams in from massive windows, or the elbow room the 286,000-square foot building allows, or the cool factor of the downtown location.

And what’s got people at Duke most excited about the collaborative research hub is its potential.

“I think we’re going to see many exciting new discoveries and ventures come from the interactions in this really vibrant and exciting place,” said Duke University Provost Sally Kornbluth.

Built in 1948, the building was a cigarette factory for the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company. Shuttered in 1999, it was given a second life when it was renovated by Wexford Science + Technology, which works exclusively with universities, academic medical centers and major research institutions to create workspaces ideal for innovation and partnership.

Duke leases about 100,000 square feet to use for collaboration-friendly lab, office and conference spaces for parts of Duke University School of Medicine and the Pratt School of Engineering. With around 350 students, faculty and staff beginning to use the new spaces, the sense of possibility at The Chesterfield is thick.

“When people visit, there is a difference in their perception of what kind of investment Duke is making in our labs,” said Will Thompson, assistant director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource lab, which is located on Chesterfield’s third floor. “It sets a great tone.”

Here’s a look inside The Chesterfield as it begins life as Duke’s latest downtown hub of innovation.

Senior Laboratory Administrator Laura Dubois, left, and Assistant Research Professor Will Thompson tend to a mass spectrometer in Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology’s Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource.

Senior Laboratory Administrator Laura Dubois, left, and Assistant Research Professor Will Thompson tend to a mass spectrometer in Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology’s Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource.

Founded in 2014, the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB) – a joint effort between the Duke University School of Medicine and the Office of the Provost – brings researchers together from several areas to explore questions about complex biological systems. As part of its work, the GCB runs five shared resources, or labs with sophisticated equipment that several teams can use.

The Chesterfield is home to the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource lab, which uses mass spectrometry to analyze a substances molecular makeup, and the Sequencing and Genomic Technologies Shared Resource lab, which features equipment that can explore a cell’s genetic blueprint.

“We allow Duke principal investigators to have access to state of the art instrumentation that is much too expensive and requires a specialized skillsets to operate, which would put them out of the reach of being in individual laboratories,” said Arthur Moseley, associate research professor for Duke Proteomics Core Facility.

 

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