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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Don Ralbovsky

National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University Mark Partnership for New Biomedical Research Center

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Johns Hopkins University marked a key milestone in their long partnership to advance scientific discovery today, commemorating the beginning of construction of a new Biomedical Research Center (BRC) on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The BRC, which is slated for occupancy in the fall of 2006, will house major components of the intramural research programs of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“I am extremely pleased that this collaborative effort is moving forward,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. “New advances at the Biomedical Research Center could have major implications for the millions of Americans who suffer from aging-related disease and disability, and from the consequences of drug abuse and addiction.”

Once completed, the BRC will consist of approximately 500,000 gross square feet of laboratory, vivarium and administrative space, and will house nearly 1,000 scientists and support staff for both basic and clinical research programs. At today’s construction kick-off, representatives from NIH and Johns Hopkins — as well as officials from the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the U.S. Congress — took stock of the collaborative nature of the project, and its promise for furthering research innovations.

At the NIA, researchers in the new facility will continue their work in a range of areas, including studies of normal aging as a risk factor for heart disease at older ages; animal studies of caloric restrictions in the development and potential prevention of disease; and investigations of stability of personality in adulthood and later.

“Like our colleagues at Johns Hopkins and NIDA, we are pleased that this new building is becoming a reality after much thought and planning,” noted Richard J. Hodes, M.D., Director of the NIA. “We anticipate that it will be a dynamic environment which will foster significant basic and clinical research into the many conditions associated with aging.”

Scientists at the NIDA who will occupy the BRC plan to pursue research directions related to the identification of genes that contribute to drug addiction; development and use of neuroimaging techniques — such as PET, MRI and functional MRI — to better understand the neurological components that contribute to drug abuse, addiction, and other compulsive disorders; and the exploration of effective treatments for adolescent smokers, particularly in minority populations.

“NIDA is delighted that our intramural research program will be moving into this state-of-the-art facility,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the NIDA. “It will allow us to continue to develop and use neuroimaging and other novel technologies to learn more about preventing and treating drug addiction.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research. NIH is comprised of 27 institutes and centers and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

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