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Campus & Community

New Chemistry Building Dedicated

Facility to Serve as Hub for Quantum Chemistry, Molecular Nanoscience and Sustainability Research

By Maryland Today Staff

campus leaders clap on stage during Chemistry Building Dedication

A chemical reaction illuminates a tiny representation of Testudo as the life-size UMD mascot and other participants at a dedication ceremony for the new Chemistry Building applaud. From left: Professor Emeritus Phil DeShong; Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice; President Darryll J. Pines; Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones; College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Dean Amitabh Varshney; doctoral student Hector Cein Mandujano and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair Janice Reutt-Robey.

Photo by John T. Consoli

The University of Maryland on Thursday dedicated its state-of-the-art Chemistry Building to catalyze the work of UMD scientists who are pushing the boundaries of their fields.

"This new facility is a landmark investment in our faculty, staff, students and the future of chemistry and biochemistry at our flagship institution," said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. "I am optimistic for the world-changing collaborations that will begin in these labs and lead to new knowledge and discoveries."

Chemistry Building exterior
Photo by Riley N. Sims Ph.D. '23

The $132 million building was designed by Ballinger and constructed by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. with funds from the state’s capital budget and the university.

“Our chemistry and biochemistry students and faculty members will have the tools and technologies they need in this new building to take their discoveries and innovations to the next level and ultimately improve our world and drive our economy,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

Key research there will include antibody-based therapeutics and an HIV vaccine, quantum signaling, studies of how viruses like the one that causes COVID-19 evade the body’s defenses and the creation of new materials and technologies for energy conversion and storage or chemical remediation.

“Our new Chemistry Building stands out because it is designed purposefully to enable faculty members and students to share ideas, solve problems and ask new questions about our natural world,” said Janice Reutt-Robey, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “The environmental features of the new building—strict temperature and humidity control, optimal thermal management and regulated airflow—will allow us to push our research to new heights.”

presentation of Chemistry Building lab
CMNS Dean Amitabh Varshney (second from left) and UMD President Darryll J. Pines (third from left) joined a tour of lab spaces in the new Chemistry Building on Thursday. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

The 105,000-square-foot facility includes:

  • 34 advanced research labs
  • Two shared research facilities with cutting-edge instrumentation
  • 13,000 square feet of collaboration space
  • A great hall, where the department’s nearly 50 faculty members and 600-plus undergraduate and graduate students will interact and engage with experts through lectures, conferences and celebrations
  • Meeting and huddle rooms designed for impromptu discussions, research group gatherings and thesis defenses

"We're proud that this building will train the next generation of our nation's top scientists. Our eyes are always on the incredible work being done by the students and faculty in our state's colleges and universities, and we can't wait to see discoveries that will come out of this building," Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones said.

Thanks to philanthropic donations from department alums and current and former faculty members, six rooms in the new building will be named: the Mike and Jan Doyle Seminar Room, GlycoT Conference Room, Sandra C. Greer Seminar Room, Russell Marker Seminar Room, Douglas Kent Shaffer Research Laboratory and Walters Meeting Room.

In his remarks, chemistry and biochemistry Professor Emeritus Philip Deshong spoke about his nearly four decades in the previous Chemistry Wing One, saying the new building is important not just for the research it will support, but for attracting new generations of top students and faculty, as well as motivating donors to support the department’s ongoing work of discovery.

“This is more than just something to look at that’s pretty on campus—it’s about what we do: the science,” he said.

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