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University of Pittsburgh's Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Breaks Ground on New Lab

A new laboratory building valued at $1 million is now under construction at the University of Pittsburgh’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, attracting researchers from across the world to the facility.

by University of Pittsburgh
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Space to be used by biologists from around the world and area K-12 schools

PITTSBURGH—A new laboratory building valued at $1 million is now under construction at the University of Pittsburgh’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, attracting researchers from across the world to the facility.

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A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction took place Aug. 8.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the 3,600-square-foot laboratory will also serve as a new base for outreach, bringing science to elementary, middle, and high school teachers and students throughout Northwest Pennsylvania.

“This new space will provide scholars with the necessary tools to perform cutting-edge ecological research during the spring and summer,” said Rick Relyea, director of the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “During the fall and winter, when our researchers are not in residence, the lab will serve as a new hub for outreach to bring science to many younger students throughout the region.”

Relyea said the substantial investment from NSF reflects a six-year effort by the University administration and staff to place the facility on a new trajectory of growth in its missions of undergraduate education, cutting-edge research, and K-12 outreach.

“The funding that has been received for this project is an acknowledgment of the high regard that Professor Relyea and his colleagues have garnered within their national peer group,” said Dick Howe, associate dean for administration and planning in the Dietrich School. “These construction awards are highly competitive, especially in this era of funding sequestration. The Dietrich School is delighted to partner with NSF on this joint venture that will make our Pymatuning facility even more productive and better suited to serve our students along with high school students and teachers within Pennsylvania’s northwestern region.”

“Through this grant, NSF has recognized that the facility has become a dominant center of ecological research in the region,” said Relyea. “This investment will also allow the University to continue having an important positive impact on the economy of Crawford County both educationally and economically.”

Relyea said the new laboratory will significantly expand the space available for current researchers while attracting new researchers in the fields of molecular and microbial biology. The facility’s new capabilities will allow scientists to work on a much wider diversity of research questions, including genetics and wildlife diseases.

The NSF grant for the new laboratory will be supplemented with funds from the University. The project will be completed in April 2014.