ECU Celebrates Inauguration of Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Initiative

On Friday, Oct. 19, East Carolina University will celebrate the inauguration of the Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Initiative. The Initiative, housed on the fifth floor of the Science and Technology Building, is a $2 million investment by the university and represents collaboration among the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biology, and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

The Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Initiative creates two new, large, shared lab spaces on the fifth floor of the Science and Technology Building that will accommodate multiple inter-related research groups. Groups will conduct interdisciplinary research within topics of molecular genetics; biotechnology – especially related to agriculture; and the cellular basis of cancer.

"Some of ECU's, and biology's, top researchers will be working in these new labs," said Dr. Alan R. White, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

A few of the researchers who will have the opportunity to use the new labs include two individuals from ECU's Wounded Warriors Program, Drs. Baohong Zhang, assistant professor of biology who studies molecular genetics, toxicology and biotechnology, and Xiaoping Pan, assistant professor of biochemistry; as well as an individual who has received a prestigious, five-year National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Dr. Beth Thompson, assistant professor of biology who studies developmental genetics.

"This lab space is state-of-the-art, and it will be among the best research spaces on campus," said White.

A ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of the Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Initiative is being held at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the third floor lobby of the Science and Technology Building. Tours of the fifth floor labs and a reception will follow. For additional information, contact Dr. Jeff McKinnon, chair of the Department of Biology, at 252-328-6718 or