New research building to foster innovation

Flexible labs will allow researchers more opportunities for collaboration

Some researchers in UNT’s BioDiscovery Institute moved to new space in the recently renovated Science Research Building, right, in January 2017, allowing researchers to work together more collaboratively.

Designers planned the 7,224-square-foot space on the first floor with an open concept, including four large labs that can be divided into as many as eight smaller labs depending on researchers’ needs.

Richard Dixon, director of the BioDiscovery Institute and Distinguished Research Professor of biology at UNT, says the new space will foster the exchange of ideas.

These flex labs will allow for more multidisciplinary, collaborative work,” Dixon says. “This is the type of space we need to attract new faculty researchers.”

The $15.5 million project also includes 4,356 square feet of support space surrounding the labs, flexible enough to be converted into more lab space later, if needed.

The first floor includes a cold room, office space, and other areas to support graduate students, research and collaboration.

The open concept labs will provide opportunities to use new research technologies and offer ample power, data and Wi-Fi connectivity to aid in research. The conference room is equipped with a flat panel display and technology to foster collaboration.

The building adds to a growing research footprint on UNT’s 900-acre campus and will help researchers continue to push the boundaries of science, technology and creativity while providing students hands-on experience to ready them for their future careers. UNT’s BioDiscovery Institute includes 15 researchers who work on biobased materials, biopolymers, bioactive small molecules, mass spectrometry and plant metabolic engineering.