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Knight Cancer Research Building opens new era in cancer research

State-of-the-art cancer research facility will support a collaborative atmosphere, bring multidisciplinary scientists together under one roof
Knight Cancer Research Building
Knight Cancer Research Building, on OHSU's South Waterfront campus. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Today OHSU announced the official completion of the Knight Cancer Research Building, a facility dedicated to the mission of ending cancer as we know it. The 320,000-square-foot building’s unique design will bring together people from different scientific disciplines with the goal of accelerating research progress.

The Oregon State Legislature provided $160 million of the total $190 million in funding for the seven-floor facility, with the remaining $30 million coming from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Today’s opening celebration takes place just five years after Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, issued a $1 billion fundraising challenge to OHSU which was successfully completed in June 2015, after 22 months. 

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Dr. Brian Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, at the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building at OHSU, September 7, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

“Today, we give thanks to the people who made this building possible. We thank Phil and Penny Knight, who issued the challenge of a lifetime. We thank the state of Oregon for its investment in this new building, and we thank the more than 10,000 donors in Oregon — and across the world — who believe in our mission,” said Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “We pledge to use this facility to end cancer as we know it, and we will be reminded of our pledge each day as we work within these walls.”

With a capacity of 650 occupants, the building will house the majority of researchers contributing to the Knight Cancer Institute’s mission. The building will house CEDAR — Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center — the first large-scale early cancer detection program of its kind. CEDAR is led by nanotechnology expert Sadik Esener, Ph.D.

“The tremendous spirit of collaboration is one of the attributes that drew me to OHSU,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S. “This building represents the state legislature, the Governor, and the citizens of Oregon coming together with OHSU over a shared goal of transforming how we think about cancer. I am proud to celebrate this building and all that it represents today, and I am eager to see the scientific progress that will result from the innovative approach to attacking cancer.”

An integrated design and construction process

The Knight Cancer Research Building team applied a process called integrated project delivery, or IPD, that optimized budget, timeline and resource efficiencies during the design and construction process. The IPD core team comprised members from OHSU working in close collaboration with representatives from the architecture firm SRG Partnership, Inc. and the construction joint venture team of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and Andersen Construction. The IPD process ensured the building was delivered on time and on budget.

ribbon cutting
Ribbon cutting at the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building at OHSU, September 7, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

The building team prioritized the hiring of Oregon businesses for the project, including minority, women, and emerging small business contractors.

Key building features include intellectual and social hubs; centralized, shared equipment and research core facilities; and an open laboratory design, all with the intent to foster collaborative work. The research labs are a balanced mix of wet labs, which use liquids, chemicals or drugs to conduct experiments, and dry labs, which use computers or computer-generated models in analyzing biological data.

Each person will have access to daylight in a high-performance, environmentally sustainable workplace featuring materials that are toxin- and carcinogen-free. The building's design and construction team anticipate a LEED Platinum certification.

Community Open House

The public is invited to tour the new building during an open house event Saturday, Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More details about the event can be found on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Facebook event page

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