Ferris State University will welcome invited guests to the Shimadzu Core Laboratory for Academic and Research Excellence Wednesday, Sept. 23, for introductory remarks and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The facility is supported by a $500,000 in-kind grant from Shimadzu, a Japanese maker of precision instruments, and high-sensitivity spectroscopic and spectrometric equipment was recently installed. Laboratory Director Sean McCormick said such devices put Ferris on a par with first-tier research institutions like the University of Michigan, in terms of available instrumentation.
“We see a lot of interesting research being done in the life sciences, in synthetic chemistry, in the College of Pharmacy,” McCormick said. “A lot of it is going to be able to look at different compounds at a very low level, and characterize them in terms of their structure and function within biological systems, or within a reaction mixture.”
Ferris’ Director of Research Thomas Dowling said that the university has invested $1 million in the laboratory, with support from most of the university’s colleges and the office of the provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. While Ferris has a proud tradition of innovation in teaching, Dowling said the laboratory will support the university’s desire to advance the teacher-scholar model on campus.
“This will lead to obtaining data that can be used to apply for large research grants,” Dowling said. “Lab sessions can be held there. Students will be able to use equipment and do experiments that were never available to them before.”
The laboratory was developed in an area of the Arts, Sciences and Education Commons that had been a math and science center for area high schoolers taking dual-enrollment classes through Ferris. McCormick said that the laboratory can accommodate classroom teaching, and offers collaborative space including tables, chairs and whiteboards to support researchers. It is anticipated that the laboratory will be available for research activities by the middle of the current semester.
Both Dowling and McCormick stressed that the Shimadzu Core Laboratory is intended to be an asset to all of the university’s colleges. McCormick said while they anticipate early involvement from the College of Pharmacy, along with the Biology and Chemistry programs, his duties include grant writing to seek support for all professors interested in research opportunities.
“We have a lot of faculty members here that probably have great ideas, just not the tools necessary to carry them out,” McCormick said. “This center is kind of a tool box for researchers.”
“As projects start to build, and teaching takes place, I think it will serve as a catalyst for different faculty and different departments to work together,” Dowling said.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Shimadzu Core Laboratory for Academic and Research Excellence welcomes Ferris State University leaders and other dignitaries in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 23. The laboratory represents $1.5 million of in-kind contributions and financial investment by the university, and offers state-of-the-art research equipment.