HSOP Opens New Pharmaceutical Research Building

Ceremonial ribbon-cutting RIBBON CUTTING: Dr. Jay Gogue, Dr. Richard Hansen, Dr. Tim Moore, Dr. Lee Evans, and James Pratt participate in the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the Pharmaceutical Research Building.

June 22, 2017

AUBURN, Alabama – Auburn University’s pharmacy program turned 130 years old in 2016. A program that started in the spare rooms of Hargis Hall and the Ross Chemical Laboratory has grown into one of the top 25 pharmacy programs in the country. The growth and recognition that has come to the program in that time owes a bit of gratitude to the research programs that have been born out of the Harrison School of Pharmacy.

“Laboratory research at HSOP continues to grow and every day becomes a bigger part of what we do here,” said former HSOP Dean R. Lee Evans. “We have some of the finest research scientists in the country that have helped our research and graduate programs grow exponentially over just the past few years.”

To continue growing, the school recently opened the new Pharmaceutical Research Building. A 37,000-square-foot facility, the Pharmaceutical Research Building has space for 14 principal investigators and more than 80 graduate students and research assistants. Construction started on Feb. 8, 2016 and the building was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 5, 2017.

The ceremony was attended by faculty, staff, students and invited guests from the pharmaceutical industry. The ceremonial ribbon was cut by Evans; then-Auburn President Dr. Jay Gogue; James Pratt, member of the AU Board of Trustees; Dr. Richard Hansen, Dean of HSOP; and Dr. Tim Moore, Department Head in Drug Discovery and Development.

“I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see this building come up out of the ground. It is a great commitment to the future of our school and shows how serious we are about our research programs,” said Evans. “We have researchers doing groundbreaking work in cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases and they are deserving of a research facility befitting the work they are doing.”

The addition of so much space allows HSOP researchers to work and collaborate in new ways. On each floor, several faculty members share a single, large, laboratory space.  The absence of walls dividing that research space will facilitate collaborations and dynamic laboratory space assignments.

“The first floor of the building contains a vivarium and the second floor houses the Auburn University Specialized Pharmaceutical and Experimental Center for Translational Research and Analysis (SPECTRA),” said David Riese, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs at HSOP. “These resources allow researchers to more easily and efficiently incorporate the cutting edge in vivo studies needed for research projects to be competitive for extramural support.”

The state-of-the-art research building is located within Auburn’s new Health Sciences Sector. The new research building is conveniently located between the new Auburn School of Nursing and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, helping facilitate even more collaboration among the programs, along with other units on campus.

“The vivarium and SPECTRA will function as campus-wide resources, benefitting investigators throughout the Auburn University community, most notably the College of Education, the College of Human Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering,” said Riese. “This will undoubtedly foster collaborations between the investigators and HSOP investigators.  Moreover, the increased research and graduate education activities that will result from the new building will foster new and existing collaborations of HSOP investigators with those elsewhere at Auburn.”

The building’s impact on graduate education will mean more opportunities for students and an enhanced research experience during their time at HSOP. The number of students in HSOP’s graduate program has more than doubled in recent years and the addition of the new building will allow the program to further grow and develop.

“The new building has state-of-the-art research facilities, graduate student office space, and spaces to foster research collaborations,” said Riese. “Combined with the high level of research activity that will be housed in the new building and the campus-wide resources available at Auburn, we will have one of the best environments in the Southeast to pursue graduate study in the Pharmaceutical Sciences. We anticipate that this will greatly enhance our ability to recruit, train, and educate graduate students.”


Exterior of building The west side of the Pharmaceutical Research Building serves as the facility's main entrance.

The benefits to faculty members in the new building are limitless. Drug Discovery and Development faculty were previously working in a 40-year-old building that lacks many of the conveniences and necessities of modern laboratories. The additional space and infrastructure allows HSOP faculty members to grow their own research programs while giving the school the tools to be more competitive when recruiting new faculty.

“The strategic use of the new facility in serving to build platforms of scientific collaborative interests will most certainly lead to increased competiveness in building sustainable scientific programs, such as centers of excellence,” said Moore. “Program-based research efforts often lead to extramural-supported training opportunities. Thus, future student recruitment and development will be assisted by the presence of renowned training programs for targeted areas of research.”

Potentially one of the largest impacts of the new building may be beyond the confines of the Auburn campus, but in the larger scientific community. Adding a building of this caliber sends a message of how serious HSOP is in pharmaceutical science research.

“The new building brings a visibility to Auburn University’s emerging commitment to becoming a leading biomedical and healthcare related sciences research institution,” said Moore. “It reinforces that commitment to research faculty who choose to come here and work on their careers and serve with the Auburn family in a collective mission.”

Further, Moore sees the building as a point of pride for the Auburn pharmacy program and a way for researchers to feel a part of the bigger research picture.

“The Pharmaceutical Research Building supports a vision of expanding scientific opportunity and growing accomplishment for my department’s faculty, staff, and students,” said Moore. “It confers an identity as an independent researcher within the greater Auburn University research enterprise. It instills a sense of pride in belonging to an Auburn family, that seeks to establish excellence in the Auburn campus facilities.”

For Riese, the increased research capabilities fall in line with his department’s long-term goals of growing research, graduate education, and the reputation of the school.

“Two of my major goals are increasing extramurally supported research activity and graduate education.  Since fiscal year 2010, we have grown extramural funding from approximately $250,000 per year to approximately $2 million per year,” said Riese. “We anticipate that the new building will foster additional growth in extramural funding and in graduate education, helping the Harrison School of Pharmacy to move into the top 20 in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.”


Lee Evans at podium
The Pharmaceutical Research Buidling was the vision of former Dean R. Lee Evans.
Overhead view of building
An overhead view of the Pharmaceutical Research Building

Crowd at ribbon-cutting ceremony
Dr. Tim Moore addresses the crowd at the Pharmaceutical Research Building Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony.
Jay Gogue at podium
Former Auburn University President Jay Gogue addresses the crowd at the ceremony.

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About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

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Last Updated: June 22, 2017