Halifax, NS – A planned $34-million research facility called the Life Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) came one step closer to reality last week with the unveiling of architectural drawings. When the facility is completed, it will provide much-needed research and incubator space for the region’s life sciences and biotechnology sectors.
The lead tenant of the LSRI will be the Brain Repair Centre (BRC), a collaboration involving a multi-disciplinary cast of basic scientists, clinicians such as neurosurgeons and psychiatrists, other health professionals and trainees. The centre is led by neurosurgeon, Dr Ivar Mendez. The BRC researchers are dedicated to finding treatments, cures and prevention strategies for such devastating conditions as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease and spinal cord injury.
“The LSRI will provide open-concept research space where all the brain-repair researchers can work together,” says Dr Mendez, noting they are currently working in separate labs located throughout Dalhousie Medical School, Capital Health and IWK Health Centre facilities. “The energy and synergy this kind of daily interaction generates are powerful catalysts for new ideas, discoveries and inventions.”
Among his many achievements, Dr Mendez has pioneered successful neural transplantation techniques to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s, the world’s first robotic tele-mentoring surgery, deep-brain stimulation in children, and a computerized pain control implant that can be recharged through the skin.
WHW Architects of Halifax designed the $34-million, five-storey LSRI. Fundraising for the project is still underway, and the construction date depends on sufficient funding. The project is a joint project of Capital Health, Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre.
The BRC will occupy two-and-a-half floors of the LSRI. More than half a dozen other local research groups are competing to determine which will occupy the remaining research space. One floor will be devoted to helping scientists develop and find investors for commercially viable ideas.