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$44 Million Forensic Medical Center Opens at University of Maryland BioPark

With its official opening ceremony Sept. 21, the Maryland Forensic Medical Center became the latest addition to the 10-acre University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore.

The $44 million, state-of-forensic-science facility, under the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, is one of the nation's largest stand-alone medical examiner services.

University of Maryland President Jay A. Perman, MD, said the opening marks an exciting new step in the growth of the University of Maryland BioPark and brings expanded forensic science to a University community that thrives on pushing the edge of discovery. The state's Chief Medical Examiner David Fowler, MD, who is also a member of the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said, "The educational and research opportunities provided by this new building are a byproduct of the close relationship between the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner [OCME] and the University of Maryland and other area universities."

Perman said in his prepared remarks, "Under the leadership of Dr. David Fowler, Maryland's chief medical examiner, this spectacular new facility is one of the finest in the world. In addition to serving the citizens of Maryland, it will greatly facilitate research and educational collaborations between the Forensic Medical Center and the University.

"Already, Dr. Sanford Stass, our chair of pathology, serves as chair of the Maryland Postmortem Commission and the majority of the center's medical examiners have faculty positions with the University. These connections are leading to advancements in medicine and forensics such as rapidly improving ability to conduct virtual autopsies by using imaging technologies. The new Maryland Forensic Medical Center will expand and accelerate these collaborations."

The OCME investigates all deaths in Maryland that occur by violence, suicide, casualty or any other suspicious or unusual manner, and any sudden death if unattended by a physician or if the deceased previously was in apparent good health. Along with their critical role in helping to solve murders, medical examiners also study the causes of unexpected deaths to determine if previously unidentified trends or possible contagious diseases pose a threat to the health of all Marylanders.

In a statement, Fowler said locating at the BioPark also will provide advanced medical education for students, "where they will be able to work with the most sophisticated tools in forensic science, and a place where we will advance research into some of society's most difficult medical mysteries."

"With the opening of the Forensic Medical Center, there will be more than 500 people working in the University of Maryland BioPark in 400,000 square feet of lab and office space with $180 million in capital investment," says James L. Hughes, MBA, vice president of research and development and president of the University's Research Park Corporation.

The Maryland medical examiner investigates almost 25 percent of all deaths in Maryland, a total of 10,000 death investigations and 4,000 autopsies a year to gather information that is critical to our public health efforts.

Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown led a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Forensic Medical Center. Also attending were Rep. Elijah Cummings, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers, Maryland Department of General Services Secretary Alvin C. Collins, Perman, and Fowler.

"I'm honored to be here with Rep. Cummings, Lt. Governor Brown, Secretary Colmers, and Secretary Collins of the Department of General Services. In five short years, the BioPark has become a vibrant community combining University researchers, work force training, and private biotech companies." Perman added. "We are delighted the Maryland Forensic Medical Center, one of the University's closest and longest-standing partners, is becoming an integral part of this community. With the opening of the Forensic Center, over 500 people now work in the BioPark. We are well on our way to creating 3,000 new jobs and $1 billion in new investment in the BioPark."

On Oct. 18, the BioPark celebrates its fifth anniversary. The 10-acre BioPark is located on the west side of the University of Maryland campus in Baltimore and includes three buildings plus garage parking and landscaped green space. Through the addition of new jobs and new commercial tenants, including the Cafe Gourmet, the Goodwill Boutique, and a branch of the Harbor Bank of Maryland, the BioPark already has had a positive impact. Development of a fourth multi-tenant building is planned for late 2010.

Posting Date: 09/21/2010
Contact Name: Steve Berberich
Contact Phone: 410-706-0023
Contact Email: sberb001@umaryland.edu