UCSD genomics research goes off grid

A new, “ultra-green” genomics research center is taking shape at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)– a not-for-profit organization – recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new facility on the UCSD campus, which is expected to be complete in 2013.

Here 125 scientists and staff will explore numerous areas of genomic research including human genomic sequencing and analysis, synthetic genomes and environmental genomes. 

Specific programs already underway include environmental metagenomics to find, catalogue and better understand microbes in the oceans, the soil, and the human body, as well as research applying synthetic biology advances to microbes in order to help solve environmental and human health problems.

The institute’s new facility on the UCSD campus is projected to be the world’s first net zero facility of its kind, generating 100% of its power via solar. 

It will make extensive use of natural daylighting, passive cooling, regionally sourced and recycled content materials, rainwater harvesting, and drought resistant landscaping, incorporating rooftop gardesn and sustainably harvested wood.

The building was designed by ZGF Architects and will be built by McCarthy Building Companies, joining JCVI’s two other facilities – one near the UCSD campus, and the other on the East Coast, in Rockville, Maryland.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling