Renovations to the McKnight Brain Institute’s ground floor — including the modernization of 2,600 square feet of lab space — were completed in July, providing investigators access to the most up-to-date state-of-the-art facilities.
The modular, open lab design can support 24 lab members and multiple large equipment features. The lab area houses a new, laser-driven multiphoton microscope and includes multiple tissue culture rooms, a kitchenette and 14 work stations.
“This project, fully funded by the McKnight Brain Institute, shows our commitment to keeping up with the latest technologies to advance neuroscience research,” said MBI Director Todd Golde, M.D., Ph.D.
The majority of the lab space has been assigned to two newly appointed UF faculty members — Malú G. Tansey, Ph.D. and Matthew LaVoie, Ph.D., the first endowed chairs of the new Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health.
Tansey arrived at UF in July and directs the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease (CTRND). Her research focuses on the role of inflammation and immune system responses in brain health and disease development, with a long-term goal of developing better therapies to prevent and treat chronic disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, ALS, autism spectrum disorders and depression.
“Our new lab space at the MBI provides a robust research environment that empowers us in our pursuit of new discoveries and better treatments for neurodegenerative disorders,” said Tansey.
LaVoie will join UF in 2020 and co-direct the CTRND with Tansey. His research is dedicated to uncovering the early molecular patterns responsible for the unique neuropathology associated with Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.
In addition to the lab upgrades, the renovation project included a new equipment corridor created just inside the MBI’s loading dock, providing a separate, temperature-controlled environment for several large pieces of equipment and the ground-floor ice machine.