U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on June 2 visited NIH’s newest research facility, the Biomedical
Research Center (BRC) in Baltimore, to support and promote scientific research.
Led by NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, with NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes and NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow, the senators
entered the BRC atrium and spent the morning discussing the scientific research taking place in the new venue. The session featured a briefing by Dr. Mark Mattson of NIA on studies in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases; Dr. Elliot Stein of NIDA on imaging of brain changes due to drug abuse; and Dr. Samuel Durso of Johns Hopkins on Hopkins’ “Senior Strategy” program to improve health outcomes for older people.
The approximately 500,000-square-foot, two-tower structure is a leased building on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, where NIA and NIDA have long conducted intramural research in other facilities. The new structure allows expansion and updating of key research labs and houses laboratory, vivarium and administrative activities. Zerhouni noted that challenges in constructing the building for state-of-the-art experiments have been met and the ability of approximately 800 scientists to work in the new facility “will be second to none.”
The senators’ visit was a celebration of the BRC, and, more broadly, the NIH scientific enterprise. In remarks to scientists, administrators
and media, Mikulski and Cardin praised the work of NIH researchers and the significance of studies to address the needs of an aging population and the issues of drug abuse.
“We’ve got to do things differently,” Cardin noted, in meeting these challenges in the future. He said the work being done at BRC will play a critical role. Mikulski, who was active
in the development of the site, praised the facility. However, she stated, “It’s not about the building. Our job is to save lives,” she said, highlighting NIH’s importance in helping Americans to live longer, better and healthier lives. “We’re going to win Nobel prizes here.”