Posts tagged JCVI La Jolla

Professional Development Opportunities this Summer

This summer we are offering two professional development workshops: GenomeSolver and Bioinformatics: Unlocking Life through Computation.  Both explore bioinformatics, microbial diversity and the implementation in the undergradauate or high school classrooms. 

The GenomeSolver workshop trains faculty on genome analysis. Workshop attendees will learn about general methodologies, standards, and processes used to annotate and analyze microbial genomes. The workshop contents will be available to aid the faculty in developing teaching modules. In addition, extensive documentation on methodologies and tools will be available via the online environment created for this project. On online web portal Genome Solver (www.genomesolver.org) will be a virtual space for development and sustaining of community. Genome Solver will assist faculty with technical issues and curricular design, as well as an online environment for the ongoing sharing of information including publication of student work. 

http://www.jcvi.org/cms/education/prodev/genome-solver-annotation-workshops

Bioinformatics: Unlocking Life through Computation is a new opportunity for high school teachers. Genomics and biotechnology are valuable tools in our quest to understand life and nature. However, introducing the science classroom to the computational and mathematical underpinnings of biology can be challenging. The goal of this workshop is to introduce a curriculum for mathematics and science education in the area of genomics (with a focus on the fascinating world of microbes). Educators will be introduced to the various analysis and computational challenges that arise in this discipline. Workflow examples illustrating comparative genomic analysis will be made available through the JCVI Metagenomics Report (METAREP) software infrastructure. The eventual aim is for the educational material to be integrated with local high school curricula requirements to expose students to both hypothesis-driven and discovery-based science.

 http://www.jcvi.org/cms/education/prodev/bioinformatics-unlocking-life-through-computation/

Building the World’s First Net-Zero Energy Lab [video]

Building the World’s First Net-Zero Energy Lab

And see the construction in time-lapes.

Moving dirt at JCVI La Jolla

After celebrating the ground breaking of JCVI La Jolla, McCarthy Building Companies immediately got to work preparing the land for construction.  First the crew set up a work area to house the staff and equipment needed for the project.  The site was cleared and stabilized for construction trailers and a temporary road was built for construction vehicles and equipment.  Water trucks were used to control dust and special shaker plates were installed at the entrance of the site to minimize loose dirt and stones on nearby roads.

With basic infrastructure in place, the team moved next to save three large Torrey Pines growing within the construction zone.  The trees had been identified during the design process and were flagged for relocation to protected areas on the site where they will remain as part of the natural landscape.  Big Trees of California, a firm specializing in relocation of large tree species, began the process of “boxing” these trees in custom built structures 14’ wide by 14’ long and 5’ deep.  Wooden lifting beams were installed underneath to provide connection points for the vertical lift.  A large crane was used to “fly” full grown Torrey Pine trees to their new homes.

Relocating Torrey Pine trees at JCVI La Jolla

With the Torrey Pines now safe, preparations for the building pad began. Several pieces of heavy earth working equipment arrived to begin the dig for the building’s foundation.  However, the crew soon discovered a local soil condition, known as “Lindavista formation,” which proved to be a challenge for even some of the largest machinery.  Fortunately, the team was prepared, and with a few equipment modifications, they reached the designed grading levels required for the excavation in just slightly more time than expected.  The earthen building pad was moisture conditioned, compacted, and surveyed by geotechnical engineers. The first major construction milestone was met!   The team is now focused on installing the concrete foundation and underground utilities.

Caterpillar D-9 at Work

While most of the team was focused on moving dirt, McCarthy’s concrete team began assembling 4’x8’ mock-ups of the architectural concrete that will be used for building’s exterior.  The mock-ups are done to determine the best method for constructing future concrete forms, while simultaneously giving the architects a glimpse at the final appearance of the finished product.  In this first series of concrete mock-ups the team is particularly focused on two important decisions:

1)      How much recycled fly-ash material can be added to the concrete while still maintaining the desired look and strength characteristics? Adding fly-ash to a concrete mix design increases the amount of recycled building material used and can count towards LEED credits. The JCVI building is intended to be one of the few LEED Certified Platinum lab building in the US so every step counts.

2)      How will the concrete forms be constructed to produce the desired finish and house the necessary structural steel elements?


Building forms for architectural concrete mock-ups

Stay tuned for updates on progress of the concrete mock-ups and other design elements of the building.  Also, if you haven’t seen it already, check out the web-cam image here which provides hourly updates from the job site.

JCVI La Jolla Breaks Ground

It is official! On Tuesday, September 20th JCVI officially broke ground on a new La Jolla, California sustainable lab, to be located directly on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. Craig Venter, JCVI Founder and President along with UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox; Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, David Brenner; Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, Tony Haymet; and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders wielded bamboo handled shovels and green hardhats  at a formal event attended by 120 guests to  kick off the construction of JCVI La Jolla.  [PRESS RELEASE] The ceremony marked a new chapter in the development of JCVI La Jolla and bodes well for the exciting times ahead as this one-of-a-kind facility is constructed.  During the course of construction and through occupancy of the building we will use this blog to keep you abreast of the building’s progress and discuss many of the unique features that will be incorporated into JCVI’s future home.  To learn more about the building program, architecture, and sustainable features click here.   Otherwise, let’s start with a little background.

More than six years in the making, the JCVI La Jolla project has developed a reputation for pushing the envelope in terms of sustainability and energy efficient laboratory design.  The project aspires to achieve carbon neutrality while also demonstrating the benefits of sustainable building practices.  Both of these are lofty yet we felt achievable goals.

From the beginning, UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox was an enthusiastic supporter of the project, encouraging scientific collaborations with JCVI and sharing JCVI’s sustainability goals.  UCSD’s Resource Management and Planning team, including Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews, Nancy Kossan, Boone Hellmann, Brian Gregory, and many others offered invaluable advice and assistance.

In 2006, we began a nationwide search for an architect to lead the project.  We came to a startling conclusion:.  while the entire industry talked the “green building” talk, very few had actually walked the walk.  Fortunately, there was one firm who had both designed some great laboratory buildings and whose passion for sustainability matched our own.  Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) in Los Angeles officially joined the team in February of 2007 under the leadership of Ted Hyman and Doss Mabe.

But having the best architects wasn’t enough, we needed a highly efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design to allow us meet our “net zero” energy goals, given the  energy intensive nature of laboratories.  While interviewing another architectural firm, we met Peter Rumsey, a mechanical engineer who was rethinking energy efficiency in buildings and promoting novel alternatives to traditional MEP design.  I recall Peter describing one project where he had replaced all of the 90 degree piping bends in a building with swept radius connectors, reduced the system’s overall resistance, and eliminated the need for dozens of pumps and their associated energy consumption. As if this approach to engineering wasn’t enough of a selling point, we were delighted to discover his firm had just completed the first LEED Platinum certified laboratory at UC Davis’s Tahoe Center.  Rumsey Engineers (now Integral Group) joined ZGF and began assembling the world-class design team that would bring JCVI La Jolla to life on paper.

The first several months of the design process were beyond exciting.  The hand-picked team of green building experts all exuded a noticeable sense of excitement every time we sat around the table to discuss ideas for the project.  The creativity floodgate had been opened and was materializing itself in all aspects of the building’s design from lighting systems to on-site water treatment.  Sustainability became the team’s mantra not only from an environmental perspective, but also for the research that would take place in the laboratories.  The labs had to support not only the science of today, but the science of tomorrow.  As a result, we focused on flexibility to ensure the building could adapt to the occupants’ needs over time.  Late in 2007, ZGF presented an architecturally stunning building that not only met the original design intent of achieving carbon neutral operation through “net zero” energy use, but also employed a constructed wetland to treat waste-water for reuse, and exceeded the USGBC’s LEED Platinum rating criteria.

2007 Rendering of JCVI La Jolla

Fast forward to today.  The design team has spent the past 10 months working relentlessly to incorporate hundreds of pages of detail into the original design and develop a set of construction documents from which the project will be built.  Coordination meetings have been held on a regular basis to ensure every element of the building meets JCVI’s operational needs.  In many cases, the original design was improved after the design team took a second look.  For example the original lab layout was modified to provide more bench area and increase flexibility of the support areas.  What started as one large open lab became a series of “neighborhoods” separated by highly configurable rooms that can adapt to a wide array of equipment configurations.

While the architects prepared drawings, we began checking off the long list of items needed for ground breaking.  Applying the same level of scrutiny used in selecting the architect and engineers, we began interviewing builders to join the team.  McCarthy Building Companies came onboard early in 2011 and immediately began providing valuable input about constructability and delivering the highest levels of quality throughout the construction process.

In parallel with our design efforts, we worked with many UCSD offices and individuals to complete numerous environmental studies, perform plan reviews, and provide community outreach about the project.  The entire UCSD community has been a great supporter of both JCVI and the sustainability goals of the project.  We are grateful for UCSD’s support and guidance throughout the multi-year development process.

Today we stand poised to begin mass excavation for the foundation in late November.  Until then, we are busy working to mobilize work trailers, install temporary power, water, and data at the site, and construct a temporary road between the construction site and Expedition Way.

2011 Rendering of JCVI La Jolla

2011 Rendering of JCVI La Jolla