Chromos-home, sweet home.
Plans for a new biomedical research facility near the British Library have been released. Shaped like a giant chromosome, the phrase 'form follows function' could scarcely be more appropriate. Four wings will house different research groups, with a central atrium designed to encourage mixing between disciplines ('interdisciplinary' is something of a buzz word in the sciences). The labs should be ready by 2015, when they will tackle projects at the forefront of human disease.
This UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI - a somewhat cumbersome moniker, which even those close to the project sometimes fumble) is a collaboration between four local powerhouses of science: the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL. The new buildings will bring together 1250 scientists in a £520 million facility to the rear of the British Library. The Centre will form a new home for the National Institute for Medical Research (currently at Mill Hill) and CRUK (now in Lincoln's Inn Fields). The World Influenza Centre will also be based here. Basically, this is a very big deal.
Euston Road is becoming something of a nexus of science. The Wellcome Trust and Wellcome Collection will be just five minutes walk from the Centre, UCL just a little further down Gower Street, with the Medical Research Council and other organisations at the Marylebone Road end. Those seeking scientific literature can find the British Library next door and the publishers of Nature journal round the corner.
Not everyone is overjoyed at the plans. The denizens of Somers Town have long campaigned against the location of the facilities, so close to residential populations. Rumours that they are planning a neighbouring building in the shape of a giant DNA helicase, to unzip the chromosomal research labs, have not been confirmed.