Reaching New Research Heights

MRB1 constructs an atmosphere of collaboration across disciplines.

By Brittney Carolina

A year and a half since breaking ground, construction is nearing completion on the state-of-the-art Multidisciplinary Research Building 1, or MRB1, which sits on more than 2 acres of land north of the Materials Science and Engineering building at the intersection of Aberdeen and North Campus drives.

The five-story concrete and masonry building, layered with windows for natural light, will house laboratories for around 50 faculty principal investigators and their teams to collaborate on research in computational, life, and chemical sciences; engineering; and medicine. Researchers are expected to move into MRB1 in early 2019.

“MRB1 expands UC Riverside’s research capabilities and encourages interdisciplinary cooperation through shared spaces,” said Cynthia K. Larive, UCR’s provost and executive vice chancellor. “The infrastructure will be flexible and adaptable to meet evolving research needs now and over the next several decades.”

MRB1 will improve the way research is done by providing an open lab environment designed to promote scientific collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. The structure also addresses the need for additional research space on campus to accommodate the growing number of students and faculty. A periodic space review will be conducted to maximize the building’s capacity.

MRB1 will incorporate wet, dry, and specialized research in its laboratory and support spaces. The building will also house office, seminar, and conversation areas, and will be organized by collaborative and multidisciplinary research teams. Last year, faculty members were invited to submit expressions of interest for space in the building. In December, Larive announced the results after months of proposal reviews and interviews.

A group of researchers working in the area of environmental toxicology, whose objective is to understand how environmental exposure leads to the development of cancer and other diseases, is one of eight research teams selected to work in the building.

“Moving into the new building makes it possible for our environmental toxicology faculty to gain access to one another, as well as interact with other biomedical researchers,” said Yinsheng Wang, a chemistry professor in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and a researcher on the environmental toxicology team.

“The new building will provide future opportunities for collaboration on grant applications, publications, and intellectual properties for commercialization; it will also attract first-class research faculty to UC Riverside,” Wang added. “We are very excited about the opportunity to work alongside scholars that would otherwise be difficult to reach.”

Fast Facts

  • Visitors will walk into a grand atrium illuminated by an enormous skylight when coming through the building’s main entrance on Aberdeen Drive.
  • Visitors will walk into a grand atrium illuminated by an enormous skylight when coming through the building’s main entrance on Aberdeen Drive.
  • The building is more than 179,000 square feet, about 125,000 of which will house laboratories and other support spaces for multidisciplinary research.
  • MRB1 is the first building on campus expected to earn Platinum classification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
  • The total cost of the project is $150 million.