Wright State University is bringing together the scientists and physicians affiliated with the Neuroscience Institute and Wright State’s systems research engineers to create a unique synergy between biomedical research and engineering that has few parallels in the nation.
Pivotal to this synergy is the simple idea of regular contact and shared resources. By working shoulder-to-shoulder in a unique, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to laboratory research, scientists, engineers and physicians will have an invaluable opportunity to generate and share innovative ideas, support one another’s work and collaborate to achieve much more than they could in isolation.
Making the Dream a Reality
To make this dream a reality, Wright State has constructed a cutting-edge Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building to house leading engineers, neuroscientists, neurologists, postdoctoral fellows and medical students working and learning collaboratively. Scientists have long understood that biological systems routinely function and perform tasks that are analogous to engineering systems, and this may be especially true for neural networks and circuits. In addition, biological systems have guided new developments in engineering.
The work being done by Wright State engineering faculty and the Wright State Research Institute, in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, represents a tremendous collaborative opportunity in the human performance domain. Ongoing efforts in neuromedical imaging have the potential to transform the training and support capabilities of the military, and more interestingly, the research being done at this intersection of medicine and engineering has broader commercial applications. New opportunities to transition technology and commercialize it across multiple markets, such as those related to human performance, are being uncovered regularly by our faculty.
Solutions generated from these interdisciplinary research efforts will have dual use in both the clinical and human effectiveness domains in the Department of Defense sector. Ohio Research Scholars in medical imaging and sensors, as well as associated faculty, will conduct cutting-edge research to advance their fields and work in partnership with clinicians to focus on advanced technology development and commercialization, boosting Ohio’s prominence in developing innovative technology-based solutions in medicine, health care and defense.
A New, $37-million Home for Neuroscience and Engineering Collaboration
The catalyst for this exceptional work is the new 90,000-square-foot facility centrally situated within the biomedical and engineering research hub on the Wright State campus. The Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building is home to translational research and collaboration with highly integrated laboratories, core resources and interactive student spaces. A full 55,000 square feet of the four-story building (including a basement) is assigned to research.
The four-story, L-shaped structure features two wings — one for neuroscience and one for engineering — that flank a central, multi-story atrium. Open teaming areas give researchers space to interact and share knowledge. Movable, height-adjustable workbenches allow for easy reconfiguration of the labs as research projects develop and change. Electricity, gas, suction and data are all delivered from the ceilings through quick-connect plugs, which also eases reconfiguration.
“Active chilled beams” in the ceilings supply heat and cooling without the conventional air handlers that pump massive amounts of air through a building. The newer technology uses a thermostat to control a mix of hot and chilled water in the pipes. When air flows over the pipes, it creates a natural convection current.
The structure is honeycombed with laboratories, features a special bullpen for graduate and undergraduate student researchers and includes offices, conference rooms and a 105-seat auditorium for research symposiums. The NEC Building can foster research in treating brain, spinal cord and nerve disorders by putting researchers and clinicians under the same roof and creating an environment that enables them to collaborate.
Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building ushers in new art at Wright State
The art installation in the atrium mimicking the firing of the brain’s neurons is designed to inspire the scientists, engineers and clinicians. Ninety dials arranged in a diamond grid produce complex, perpetually shifting patterns of light and shadow. It was created by Erwin Redl, an Austrian-born artist from Bowling Green, Ohio.