Princess Royal opens National Vaccinology Centre

THE Princess Royal officially opened a £24 million world-leading vaccine development facility at The Pirbright Institute near Woking.

The Jenner Building is home to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) National Vaccinology Centre. It accommodates 100 scientists working on cutting-edge research to generate new vaccines for a variety of livestock diseases, including those that can spread to humans. Scientists mainly focus on poultry diseases such as bird flu and Marek’s disease, but they also develop vaccines for other animal viruses such as the devastating African horse sickness virus.

The building is 14.6m tall and has 3,700sqm of floor space across two floors, which is equivalent to 19 tennis courts.

It has shared, open-plan laboratories that can each house between six to 30 scientists. Specialised labs include a bio-imaging, cell culture suite and a Home Office incubation laboratory

Recent breakthroughs at Pirbright include using new technologies that facilitate the development of a new-generation of genetically modified vaccines.

Dr Bryan Charleston, interim director and CEO of The Pirbright Institute, said the organisation was very honoured to have Princess Anne officially open the centre.

“Our innovative new facilities will enable scientists to develop a greater understanding of virus-host interactions and how best to combat diseases using the latest technologies including the genetic modification of vaccines and viruses,” Dr Charleston said.

[red blob] THE Jenner Building was designed by the architects NBBJ, who were appointed in 2012. It consumes 20% less energy than the buildings it replaced. This was achieved by including features such as automated façade vents for night-time cooling, rainwater harvesting, extensive use of LED lights, and 283 photovoltaic panels on the roof with a brief to design for adaptability in the context of an evolving campus and changing research programmes and to ensure the design reflected the rural campus while setting new standards for sustainability and quality of experience for occupants.

Landscape designers Robert Myers Associates created a wildflower meadow to the south, part of which was awarded to the Institute for winning the CIRIA biodiversity BIG Challenge Awards. The rest of the wildflower planting was donated by construction company John Sisk & Sons, and is haven for wildlife and insects.

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