UT Regents and UT Southwestern dedicate new Bill
and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building
DALLAS — Oct. 6, 2006 — UT Southwestern Medical Center today dedicated the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building — a state-of-the-art facility equipped with cutting-edge scientific tools that will enable researchers to peer deep inside the human body and learn more about the disease processes of diabetes, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and many others.
Former Texas Gov. William P. "Bill" Clements Jr. donated $10 million to Southwestern Medical Foundation to complete the construction and equipping of the research and clinical building, which features the most powerful imaging technologies in the world.
"We have been supporters of UT Southwestern since its early years, and I've always been proud of my association with the medical center, which I regard as an important asset to the state of Texas," said Gov. Clements. "The new building is a great addition to the campus, and we're happy to be a part of the future of biomedical research in this way."
UT Southwestern president Dr. Kern Wildenthal called Gov. and Rita Clements "true champions of Texas, higher education and medical science."
"This facility will transform UT Southwestern's clinical and research programs in the most exciting area of medicine for the 21st century. We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinary leadership of Bill and Rita Clements, whose generosity has enabled us to complete a building that will be the envy of the rest of the country," said Dr. Wildenthal, who was joined by UT System Chancellor Mark Yudof and James Huffines, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, in officially dedicating the building today.
The Clements Building houses the newly established Advanced Medical Imaging Research Center, which receives state funding of $7 million each year through a special appropriation championed by Speaker of the House Tom Craddick and members of the Dallas legislative delegation, as well as income from major endowments contributed by Dallas philanthropists.
"The facilities within the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building will allow us to greatly enhance our current research and enable us to attract talented researchers and scientists from all over the world," said Dr. A. Dean Sherry, director of the Advanced Imaging Research Center.
Dr. Sherry added that he anticipates strong collaboration among scientists at research institutions from North Texas and beyond. Dr. Sherry has a joint appointment as professor of chemistry at UT Dallas and professor of radiology at UT Southwestern.
The Clements Building also houses the Mary Nell and Ralph B. Rogers Magnetic Resonance Imaging Center, established in 1991 to provide MRI diagnostic tests for UT Southwestern patients.
The North Campus building is a six-story structure containing 150,000 square feet of space. Core funding for the facility was provided by $56 million in bonds authorized by the 2003 Texas Legislature under the sponsorship of Speaker Craddick.
The Clements Building features 18 specially designed bays for clinical and research imaging devices. The largest of these houses one of the nation's first 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging devices for human studies, made available to UT Southwestern through a special federal appropriation of $7 million, championed by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Several other powerful imaging devices also were funded from the multimillion dollar federal appropriations sponsored by Sen. Hutchison and members of the Dallas congressional delegation, including Reps. Pete Sessions, Joe Barton and Ralph Hall, and supplemented by a number of generous contributions from local foundations and individuals.
Dr. Craig Malloy, medical director of the Advanced Imaging Research Center, said the basic science and clinical impact of advanced imaging is widely agreed to be a critical element of innovative approaches to patient care.
"This building will provide a dramatic expansion of imaging research and clinical capabilities at UT Southwestern," said Dr. Malloy.
In addition to magnetic resonance imaging, the Clements Building contains two positron emission tomography scanners, which produce three-dimensional maps of metabolic processes in the body. Optical imaging devices, powerful computed tomography scanners, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy devices and other advanced imaging instruments also will be used throughout the facility.
The first floor of the building provides mechanical space and reception areas, while the large second floor is the site of the imaging bays and patient diagnostic areas. The fourth and fifth floors contain modern laboratories and office space for the Advanced Imaging Research Center and for psychiatry and neurology faculty members who will collaborate with imaging experts to study brain diseases.
The third and sixth floors of the building were originally shelled-in for future expansion. The Clements gift will now allow these floors to be finished out and equipped in 2007, immediately providing much-needed space for additional neuroscientists, metabolic researchers and imaging experts.
One of the most important features of the Clements Building and its state-of-the-art equipment will be its ability to catalyze major cooperative projects involving UT Dallas and UT Arlington faculty members, who will occupy offices and laboratories in the building and work side-by-side in collaboration with their UT Southwestern colleagues. Other Texas universities and medical centers, both public and private, also will be invited to have access to the unique capabilities offered in the facility.
"The far-sighted support of Gov. and Mrs. Clements, other generous philanthropists, and state and federal leaders has enabled biomedical scientists, clinicians, engineers, physicists and computer scientists from UT Southwestern, UT Dallas, UT Arlington and other Texas institutions to join hands in using the most sophisticated technology available to solve the most complex problems of medicine for the 21st century," said Dr. Wildenthal.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center, one of the premier medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. Its more than 1,400 full-time faculty members - including four active Nobel prize winners, more than any other medical school in the world - are responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and are committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 89,000 hospitalized patients and oversee 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.
Media Contact: Katherine Morales
To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews