Schrock to open new Bio21 lab

15 March

MASSACHUSETTS-based Professor Richard Schrock, co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, opened the Bio21 Institute's new Chemical Synthesis Laboratory on 2 February 2007.

The lab is under the management of light emitting plastic and affordable solar panel specialist Professor Andrew Holmes.

Schrock also delivered two public lectures during his visit. Victorian Minister for Innovation John Brumby and University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Professor Glyn Davis also spoke at the ceremony, acknowledging the contribution of several sponsors including the Australian Research Council, the University of Melbourne, veski and CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies.

The chemical synthesis laboratory was custom-designed as part of the package that attracted Holmes to return to Melbourne from Cambridge in the UK in 2004 and he expressed his appreciation of them this week enthusing: "These are the best laboratory facilities that I have ever worked in".

The new 430 square metre lab incorporates design features from facilities in Europe and North America including the careful integration of open bench space adjacent to excellent fume hoods said to improve the productivity of researchers by a factor of two or three.

The fume hoods are glass-lined and have a corrosion resistant ceramic base. Each hood has its own dedicated supply of high and low vacuum pumps, piped nitrogen and argon and recirculating cooling water.

Chemical synthesis sits centrally at the interface of many disciplines – including biology, biochemistry, genetics, drug discovery, physics, material science and nanotechnology – and facilities such as these allow 'molecule makers' like Holmes to manufacture materials by organic chemical synthesis.

Schrock received his Nobel Prize for work in metathesis chemistry which revolutionised the way chemists assemble complex organic molecules.

veski would like to acknowledge that this article is courtesy of Biotechnology News.

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