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World leading brain research centre completes

Maindy Park

The new approximately £44m world-class Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) building is just being completed in Phase 2 of the Maindy Park development for Cardiff University.

Research carried out at CUBRIC centre will help scientists to understand the causes of a range of brain conditions, including dementia, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

The new building, due to open this spring, is located adjacent to the recently completed Hadyn Ellis Building for stem cell research on the Maindy Park Innovation Campus and aims to promote a vibrant, interactive and productive neuroscience community.

Main contractors are BAM; architects are IBI Group; quantity surveyors are Capita; mechanical and electrical engineers are Arup and Civil Engineers are Bay Associates.

Four times larger than the university’s existing facilities, the new building will allow staff from different departments to benefit from being housed under one roof, allowing for increased collaboration and innovation.

The 6,500 sq m building will incorporate a host of facilities including those for a mix of medical research, including an NHS standard medical suite with drug trial unit and specialist MRI and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanning suites, laboratories, office accommodation and large seminar facilities with outside garden terrace.

Four Siemens MR machines will be installed at the building in early 2016 – a MAGNETOM 7-T, a MAGNETOM Connectom 3-Tesla scanner with 300 mT/m gradients and two MAGNETOM Prisma systems.

Sensitive to the local vernacular, the building design employs energy efficient features geared to achieving a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
Research at CUBRIC is focused on four inter-related research themes: Imaging science; neuroscience; clinical research; and neuropsychiatric genetics and genomics.

Maindy Park

This research will allow the university to undertake cutting-edge methods of research and apply this to key psychological and clinical questions. This research aims to have a direct impact on understanding human health and well being, including the brain changes that lead to disordered cognition and mental health.

Professor Derek Jones, Director of CUBRIC said:
“CUBRIC will house a combination of neuroimaging equipment that will be truly unique within Europe. In addition to magnetoencephalography (MEG), and brain stimulation equipment, the new CUBRIC will house a unique combination of four MRI scanners.
“One of these, a 7T system, more than twice the strength of standard research scanners, will give us unprecedented ability to look in much higher resolution at brain chemistry, structure and function.
“This combination of equipment and expertise will allow us to map the brain over different spatial scales, characterising brain chemistry, electrophysiology, blood flow, structure and function. It will also allow us to explore how these measurements relate to each other – how different brain systems work in concert to produce differences in brain function in the healthy brain, and abnormal brain function in a range of developmental, neurological and psychiatric disorders.
“In turn, this will help us to understand not only the causes of disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis, but gives us important clues about how to develop more effective treatments to improve the lives of patients with these disorders.

Professor Dylan Jones, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences said:
“CUBRIC is an excellent example of close collaboration between many individuals both within Cardiff University and the medical and imaging research communities as a whole.
“The new CUBRIC facility will further consolidate our place as one of Europe’s leading research institutions in this area of work.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University said: “Cardiff University is home to some of the world’s leading experts in brain mapping, neuroscience, clinical research and genetics, and is widely recognised for its research excellence in this area. The new facility will be world class and it’s incredibly exciting to think about the new research that will be done to enhance our understanding of the brain.”

Richard Golledge, Architect and Associate Studio Director at IBI Group, said:
“IBI Group designed one of the first MEG facilities in the UK at University of Oxford. The practice has applied this knowledge and data from the “4 labs 4 cities” research by its R&D team, IBI THiNK, to benchmark the CUBRIC building design against other leading international examples of science facilities.
“This project is an excellent example of where IBI Group is cross-fertilising its expertise across various sectors, including science, education and healthcare. Similar to IBI’s collaborative approach, CUBRIC’s close proximity to Hadyn Ellis Building will bring added benefits of improved opportunities for teamwork between the university’s two research groups.”

The university is home to some of the world’s leading experts in brain mapping, neuroscience, clinical research and genetics, and is widely recognised for its research excellence in this area.

The project has received £9.4 million of Welsh Government investment. The cost of the building and cutting edge equipment also includes some £22M in funding and grants awarded to CUBRIC researchers from organisations including the Wolfson Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the EPSRC and the Medical Research Council.

CUBRIC is part of the University’s ambitious multi-million pound research and innovation capital development plan, which will provide the facilities needed to foster engagement with business, government, the voluntary sector and civic society in all arenas including the life sciences, engineering and manufacturing, and the creative and digital economies.

BAM Construction is part of BAM Construct UK which is one of the country’s largest construction services organisations with a turnover of more than £900 million. The company operates throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Their European parent company is Royal BAM Group which employs over 25,000 people worldwide and has a turnover of €7billion.

IBI Group is a globally integrated architecture, planning, engineering, and technology firm.

From high-rises to industrial buildings, schools to state-of-the-art hospitals, transit stations to highways, airports to toll systems, bike lanes to parks, IBI Group design every aspect of a truly integrated city for people to live, work, and play.

Dudley’s Aluminium Limited

Working on the Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), Dudley’s provided key structural and architectural aluminium and glazing. The company manufactured and installed capped curtain walling with large multi-colour panels for the building façade, as well as manually and electrically operated windows, manually operated doors, and circular sliding entrance doors.
Commenting on the project, Dudley’s managing director Colin Shorney said:
“We are very pleased to be involved with the CUBRIC project, it follows on from the completion of two previous projects on the same site for Cardiff University, namely the new Optometry building and the Cardiff University Business School.”
“We work with a number of educational organisations across the UK and we believe that our work at Cardiff University demonstrates our expertise in the marketplace, while helping to create a long lasting legacy for the institution.”
Established in 1993, Dudley’s Aluminium Limited specialise in the fabrication of architectural aluminium through their full in-house design and production facilities. The company has completed many successful and prestigious education, health, commercial, retail and defence sector projects.

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