Michigan State University has broken ground in downtown Grand Rapids on an $88 million, six-story biomedical research building.

When completed in 2017, the Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center will be a 162,800-square-foot facility that will have research program spaces and five core labs: bioinformatics, flow cytometer, long-term storage, and analytical and advanced microscopy.

“We fully occupy all suitable laboratory space available to MSU in Grand Rapids,” says Marsha D. Rappley, dean of the College of Human Medicine. “We have the critical mass to warrant a new research center that will benefit not only MSU, but our partnering institutions in collaborative medical research.”

The university says the center will support 260 members of the College of Human Medicine’s scientific research teams, including 34 principal investigators and their labs. At full capacity, the center will support 44 research teams in areas of scientific study such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, pediatric neurology, autism, inflammation, transplantation, cancer, genetics, women’s health and reproductive medicine.

Construction of the center is part of a long-range strategy that began in 2005 with establishment of MSU’s medical education arm in Grand Rapids.