KINGSTON, R.I. – April 28, 2010 – The University of Rhode Island today dedicated the state-of-the-art teaching laboratories in its Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences in the name of Amgen, the biopharmaceutical company that has provided a wide range of vital support for biotechnology research and education at the University.
A plaque was unveiled during the ceremony naming the laboratories the Amgen Biolabs – Learning Laboratories in the Life Sciences.
“Amgen has been a great partner and long-time supporter of our biotechnology initiatives, from donating equipment to our biomanufacturing lab at the Providence campus to hosting interns and hiring our graduates,” said Nancy Fey-Yensan, interim dean of the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences. “The company’s million dollar contribution toward the construction of these labs further demonstrates its commitment to URI, and we are deeply appreciative of their commitment, vision and generosity.”
Amgen, a biotechnology pioneer, discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. Amgen’s medicines have helped millions of patients in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses.
“Amgen is committed to enhancing science education in our community,” said Kimball Hall, Vice President, Amgen’s Rhode Island Operations. “These learning laboratories are absolutely essential for the next generation of scientists to train on the latest techniques and processes that will result in improved quality of life for millions of people. We are delighted that URI is taking a lead in teaching the biological sciences, and we are thrilled to be able to provide resources for these laboratories.”
The company took an early interest in the expansion of biotechnology education at URI. It provided guidance as the University developed the curricula for a Biotechnology Manufacturing Program
and later donated equipment and provided financial support to establish a biotechnology manufacturing laboratory at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus.
In 2004, Amgen funded an introductory biotechnology class at URI that was open to the public at no charge and was broadcast on public access television. It later became an on-line course. The Amgen Foundation also awarded the University a grant to support the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program in Rhode Island, which provides high school science teachers and students with hands-on laboratory experiences and curriculum.
The $1 million contribution the company made in 2007 in support of the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences funded construction of the teaching laboratories and endowed academic programming. The gift was part of the University’s “Making a Difference” capital campaign, administered by the URI Foundation, which has raised more than $110 million to provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives, and enhance vital capital building projects.
“Amgen’s generous gift to the College of the Environment and Life Sciences elevated them to an elite status among our corporate supporters,” said Glen R. Kerkian, president of the URI Foundation. “The University’s faculty and students benefit in innumerable ways from our close partnership with this industry innovator and today’s laboratory dedication is one of the more high impact and dramatic examples.”
In addition to the Amgen Biolabs, the $60 million biotechnology center houses modern classrooms, high-tech research laboratories, faculty offices and a 300-seat auditorium, all to meet the needs of URI’s growing environmental biotechnology and biological sciences programs.