740 Dr Penfield: facts and features
Discover facts and features on Montreal's newest address for medical and scientific research, 740 Dr Penfield Avenue, a new scientific space that will change the face of research in Canada.
September 8, 2003
Facts: Montreal's newest address for medical and scientific research, 740 Dr Penfield Avenue, officially opened for business today at McGill University's downtown campus. This innovative facility will house 250 employees, as well as visiting colleagues, ranging from world-renowned scientists and talented graduate students to lab technicians and entrepreneurs.
Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects/Fichten Soiferman et Associés: Architects in Joint Venture, 740 Dr Penfield features six floors covering over 100,000 square feet of space. Some 10,120 metric tons of cement were needed to build the glass and concrete structure. More than 300 windows provide panoramic views of the city and the mountain -- a welcome novelty for research quarters.
740 Dr Penfield stands on the site of the former William H. Donner Building, which provided laboratory facilities for McGill's Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry from 1947 until its demolition in 2001. In recognition of William H. Donner's initial commitment to McGill and desire to further bio-medical research, the University has named important space within 740 Dr Penfield the William H. Donner Laboratories for Biotechnology. What's more, the exterior of the new building includes 5,647 sq. feet of handsome limestone recycled from the Donner Building. Incorporating Donner Building material was another way of underlining the legacy of William Donner's original gift.
Features: As an integral part of the McGill University Health Centre, construction of 740 Dr Penfield will give researchers the critical space needed for the sophisticated equipment required to support pioneering investigations. One tenant, the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre (formerly know as the Montreal Genome Centre), will benefit from the building's design, which links multiple labs in a continuous flowing space that will promote interaction between scientists.
One of the star technologies in the new building is a production-scale genotyping platform built by Illumina. Thanks to this equipment, the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre recently scaled up to produce 300,000 genotypes (or DNA tests) per day -- an impressive example of the kind of productivity associated with 740 Dr Penfield. According to scientific director Dr Tom Hudson, the Centre has the capacity to go up to 1,000,000 genotypes per day, making it one of the largest gene-typing throughput systems in the world. The use of tens of thousands of miniature beads embedded in 96 fiber-optic bundles allow parallel testing of hundreds of thousands of DNA tests, backed by automated workstations and powerful CCD cameras.