The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Kresge Medical Research Building

In November, 1949, the Regents accepted "with grateful appreciation" a gift of $3,000,000 from the Kresge Foundation for the construction and equipment of a medical research building (R.P., 1948-51, p. 532). The Kresge gift, one of the largest single gifts ever received by the University, covered the construction costs of the Medical Research Building and of the laboratory furniture for some units in the building. Additional funds in the amount of $500,000 were received from private sources for furnishing certain laboratories and for purchase of special research equipment.

In planning the research building the faculty committee kept in mind three major objectives: to provide physical facilities for a continuing program of medical research, to facilitate a training program for a carefully selected group of men and women having research ambitions and aptitudes, and to bring together theory and practice through a close relationship between research, clinical care of patients, and medical education.

All research conducted in the Kresge Building is under the supervision of the Medical School faculty. Funds for research are received primarily from foundations, individuals, industry, and agencies interested in aiding the progress of medical science.

Giffels and Vallet, Inc., Detroit, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, New York, were the architects and engineers for the building. Jeffress-Dyer of Washington, D. C., was the contractor. Ground was broken on January 17, 1951, and the dedication ceremonies held on completion of the building took place on May 15, 1954. Designed to permit a flexible arrangement of laboratories and equipment so that constantly changing needs or programs may be met, the Page  1654Kresge Building stands just west of University Hospital. It is 50 feet wide and 300 feet long and consists of five levels, containing 128 laboratory units, and twenty-eight animal units, as well as office, conference, shop, locker, mechanical equipment, and storage areas.

Laboratory areas have been so designed that they may be divided into individual units as small as ten feet wide by eighteen feet deep, each complete with all necessary services. These small units may be combined to form a single large laboratory whenever necessary. Likewise, a central hood exhaust system has been constructed which permits a hood to be placed in every twenty-foot laboratory or in every other ten-foot unit.

Animal quarters have been constructed on the top level of the building. These are air conditioned and have a special exhaust system to establish a standard environmental condition for research laboratory animals. The rooms are equipped with large sinks and have floors and walls of tile, permitting easy cleaning. A special kitchen has been built for preparation of food for laboratory animals, and the special animal cage washing unit permits efficient, automatic washing and sterilizing of cages.

Details of laboratory equipment, of course, will be constantly changing as research methods and objectives change. Several unusual and interesting laboratories have been constructed in the building, to meet the needs of research studies now underway. For example, there is a shielded electroencephalography area, a soundproof room with vibration-proof floor, walk-in cold rooms, incubator rooms, and an isotope laboratory.

The electroencephalography laboratories are room-sized copper boxes, the metal shielding serving to eliminate electrostatic interference. The machines are connected to the subject in the shielded room by means of a shielded cable. Extreme caution was taken to assure that the sheet copper in the walls of these rooms was completely insulated from the concrete and plaster of the walls in which it was placed. Significant progress is being made in this new field of investigation.

Equally painstaking was the construction of the Soundproof Laboratory, which is a room within a room. Its vibration-proof floor is supported by an independent foundation, and this room is also shielded electrostatically. The Soundproof Room is used in investigations of speech and hearing problems.

The Kresge Building is connected with University Hospital by means of a passageway. Between these two buildings is the new Alice Lloyd Radiation Therapy Laboratory, in which radiological therapy and research are being concentrated. There are no facilities for housing patients in the Kresge Building, but there is a close relationship between many of the research studies and the clinical care of patients.

The business administration of the building is under the general direction of the administrative staff of the University Hospital.

The major research facilities within the Building include special laboratories in dermatology, intestinal diseases, hypertension, metabolic and endocrine disorders, arthritis, anticoagulants, allergy, nervous system research, isotope studies, cancer serology, surgical techniques, immunology, kidney function, toxicology, and acoustics.