News Release

Monday, March 31, 2014

NIH celebrates grand opening of John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center

State of the art research facility on NIH campus will foster new collaborations among scientists studying the brain.

The National Institutes of Health will host a scientific symposium and a dedication ceremony March 31- April 1, 2014, to celebrate the completion of the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. This state of the art facility brings together neuroscientists from 10 institutes and centers across the NIH in an effort to spur new advances in our understanding of the nervous system in health and disease.

The dedication will feature remarks by the honoree, former congressman John Edward Porter, for whom the center is named. Porter was a member of the House Appropriations Committee, chair of the subcommittee that funded NIH, and a staunch supporter of biomedical research and the NIH mission. He served in the House for more than 20 years, representing a district in Illinois.

Other speakers include NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill)., and Story C. Landis, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. More than 800 people are expected to attend the dedication and symposium.

The inaugural event for the building is a two-day symposium featuring five scientific sessions with presentations by leading neuroscientists from across the United States and within the NIH. Topics will include presentation on some of the hottest topics in the field today: neuronal circuits, cell biology and the genetics of brain disease.

“The symposium will highlight cutting-edge neuroscience research that is conducted here at NIH and around the country. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together an esteemed group of scientists and hear about the latest findings in neuroscience,” said Dr. James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

As one of the largest neuroscience research centers in the world, the Porter Neuroscience Research Center has 500,000 square feet of open laboratory space and offices, shared resources and facilities, and other design elements meant to foster collaborations among scientists.

“The concept for this building first arose when we saw a need for a place that could bring together scientists studying all aspects of the brain. We are delighted that the Porter Neuroscience Research Center is officially open and look forward to the many innovative discoveries that are bound to come from the programs in that building,” said Dr. Landis.

“Serendipity plays an important role in science. Many great ideas for experiments result from casual conversations between researchers. The open design of the Porter Research Center will certainly encourage those types of interactions,” said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Porter Neuroscience Research Center is made up of two buildings connected by a glass atrium. Construction on the first building began in 2001 and was completed in 2004. The second phase of the center, designed by Perkins+Will, was built with a number of environmentally friendly design features such as solar cells, geothermal energy system, and energy efficient lighting, which make the facility 25 percent more energy-efficient than a conventional laboratory building.

“Phase two of the project faced several unavoidable stops and starts but appears to be have been well worth the wait,” said Gerald Fischbach, M.D., who was one of those who conceptualized the idea more than 10 years ago while serving as the NINDS director.

“We hope people will come from every corner of the earth to see and work in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, a magnificent tribute to the most important and challenging scientific endeavor we face – understanding the human brain,” said Dr. Collins.

Media interested in attending the dedication should contact Calvin Jackson (email:; phone: 301-594-8750) by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 31, 2014. Media are also invited to the scientific symposium, which begins on Monday, March 31 at 9:00 a.m. The link to the registration website is The dedication will be webcast live at:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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