Dr. Arvind Ingle named Facility Leader of the Year. The TriMetis Specialized Laboratory receives the TurnKey Facility of the Year Award.

The TurnKey Awards were presented to the 2014 winners at the TurnKey Conference on May 13th in National Harbor, MD. The awards, given by ALN Magazine, ALN World, and sponsored by Innovive and Allentown Inc., are in recognition of excellence in two categories: leadership and facility design. At the awards luncheon, Dr. Arvind Ingle and Phil Cestaro from the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory were presented with plaques and celebrated as this year’s winners.

The TriMetis Specialized Laboratory Receives the TurnKey Facility of the Year Award
The Facility of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievements in the design/build of a new or renovated laboratory animal facility. The award is intended to showcase new ideas and accomplishments in facility design, construction, and operation and was sponsored by Allentown Inc. This year’s winner is the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory in Memphis, TN.

Exterior of the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory. © CestaroPhoto

TriMetis’ grass covered roof and pocket park provide green space in the growing UT-Baptist Research Park. © CestaroPhoto

Developed in response to an urgent need expressed by local medical device and bioscience industry leaders, the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory is a 26,000-square-foot, Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) certified specialized laboratory on the campus of the UT-Baptist Research Park. This lab is the only commercial GLP-focused specialty lab facility in Memphis, the State of Tennessee, and the region. The facility provides preclinical research services and models focused on assisting medical device, pharmaceutical, chemical, and biotech companies in bringing products to market under the regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval process.

The funding for the project was also a collaborative effort. The project was funded with a blend of public and private funding, including a state of Tennessee grant, Federal New Market Tax Credits and local bank financing through First Tennessee, non-profit Memphis Bioworks Foundation equity contributions, and local philanthropy dollars.

The TriMetis Specialized Laboratory is positioned in the center of the UT-Baptist Research Park, a burgeoning center for bioscience research, development, and company creation located in the heart of the Memphis Medical Center. The formal planning for the lab began in November of 2008 when a Master Plan for the UT-Baptist Research Park was developed by non-profit Memphis Bioworks Foundation. Between April and August of 2009, Perkins + Will developed schematic designs for the specialized laboratory. When designs were completed, the effort to secure funding started, and in early 2011 project administrators had a term sheet from a lender. TriMetis Life Sciences was created by Memphis Bioworks Foundation to operate the laboratory and services business. In May 2011, Perkins + Will began the construction design drawings and completed them in October of 2011. Building construction began on the facility in November 2011 and was completed in September of 2013.

The laboratory itself was built with a dramatic staircase leading up from a park that serves as the formal entrance to the UT-Baptist Research Park. Up the stairs is an expansive grass roof with walking paths and a tree-lined promenade connecting the Research Park to the adjacent University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus. The green roof provides an outdoor gathering space for lunchtime activities and special events. The design allows the building to be in the center of the park, creating green space for the Research Park that is an amenity while also maximizing the density of the project.

One of the challenges in developing the facility was determining the appropriate space allocation of imaging capabilities and other laboratory services. It was determined to limit the imaging and wet lab services space within the building as there are already dedicated spaces in the Research Park with imaging capabilities and other analytical services. The facility was built with internal x-ray capabilities and the exterior was designed to allow for mobile CT and MRI units to pull up and attach to the building under the covered loading dock area. Future internal imaging infrastructure needs will be assessed based upon customer feedback and potentially included in future building expansion projects.

Animal holding and procedure rooms were the primary building modules for the Specialized Lab due to the importance of lab function and safety issues endemic to this type of research facility. Since other facilities in the UT-Baptist Research Park already include amenities such as a conference center and meeting, office, and wet lab space, the TriMetis Specialized Laboratory was designed as solely a vivarium facility (with the exception of offices for the Facility Director and a break room and locker room for facility staff.)

The Lab includes animal holding areas for both small animals and large animals, procedure rooms, cage wash rooms, and a large animal surgery suite. It has been designed to expand in future phases towards the north and south to create a 70,000-square-foot facility. Animal holding rooms are respectively sized to accommodate ventilated rodent cages and large animal pens. The facility has 14 small animal holding rooms, two of which are designed with floor drains for conversion to fisheries in the event these holding areas are needed in the future. These rooms hold either six or eight double sided rodent racks, or 840 to 1,120 cages. The facility is anticipated to hold a total of 13,720 rodent cages. Tower blowers were selected for the caging racks to make it easier for staff to disconnect the blowers from the racks, removing the need to lift a heavy unit from the top of the rack. Half of the small animal procedure rooms have Class II, Type B2 Biosafety Cabinets with HEPA filtered down flow air and HEPA filtered exhaust air tied to the facility exhaust air system. The remainder are set up for Class II, Type A2 Biosafety Cabinets. Mobile changing stations offer further flexibility for changing animal cages.

A unique aspect of the facility is the 12 suites including holding rooms with private adjoining procedure rooms for small animal research. Research groups are able to rent or lease a private suite for their own studies. TriMetis maintains the GLP status and provides staffing and supplies as needed. This allows for companies that are not in the position to put capital investment into their own GLP preclinical research facilities to have access to dedicated private space.

Since the facility is purely a vivarium, access is restricted to the facility. Those with access enter through the front entrance, adjacent to the staircase. There is then a second set of restricted access doors, again to ensure the safety of our staff and to ensure the privacy of the research within the facility.

Extreme care is taken to minimize any instance of contamination by directing workflow from clean to dirty in regard to maintenance, cleaning of cages, and animal care. Facility staff use one of the locker rooms just inside the facility doors, in the common hallway to change into scrubs. Locker rooms are equipped with showers. All staff and visitors are required to dress in personnel protective clothing before leaving the common hallway and entering the remainder of the facility.

Animals arrive from the loading docks at the rear of the facility. The loading docks are discretely positioned under the promenade connecting the facility to the University campus. Just inside the rear entrance of the facility is a quarantine space where the animals are checked prior to entering the rest of the facility.

In the development of the building systems, consideration was taken to minimize energy usage while maintaining the integrity of the facility. This included system redundancy required to maintain controlled conditions. Ventilation was also an important consideration, particularly for the holding rooms. Individually ventilated rodent cages (IVC) and Variable Air Volume (VAC) HVAC systems were used. This method allows for more precision in the care of the animals and in facility design so ventilation rates could be precisely tailored to Performance Standards in regard to temperature and other factors. This strategy is supported by the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Surgical suite with ceiling mounted cameras for secure, remote viewing. © CestaroPhoto

The TriMetis Specialized Laboratory is a model of “green construction” and a showcase for energy sustainability. The laboratory was designed to achieve 23% savings in annual energy consumption and costs. The facility incorporates several sustainable features and is designed to be USGBC LEED Silver-certified with natural ventilation, renewable energy, open space, and quality environments inside and out. This is a significant accomplishment for a research facility exclusively composed of vivarium space. It minimizes site impact through storm water design, heat island mitigation, and light pollution reduction. Final documents are being prepared for LEED certification, and should be confirmed later in 2014.

Some of the key features of the facility which qualify it for LEED certification include sustainable site conditions, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere conditions, material and resource selection, and operational considerations. Some of the site conditions that support sustainable features include ready access to public transportation on Union Avenue and the Madison Trolley Line, and developing on a brownfield site. The water efficiency qualities were achieved by installing plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage by 30% and using captured rain and storm water to irrigate the landscape. The energy and atmosphere elements were enhanced by a building commissioning process to ensure that the mechanical systems were designed and installed to optimize energy performance and personnel comfort. Material and resource selection criteria were met by sourcing 60% of materials within a 500 mile radius of the project site and diverting over 75% of construction waste away from landfills. Sustainable operations are achieved by including green housekeeping policies and a green education program.

Dr. Arvind IngleArvind Ingle Receives the TurnKey Facility Leader of the Year Award
Dr. Arvind Ingle, Scientific Officer ‘F’ and Officer-in-Charge, Laboratory Animal Facility and Histopathology at the Tata Memorial Center, Advanced Center for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India, was named the 2014 TurnKey Facility Leader of the Year. The Facility Leader of the Year Award recognizes a laboratory animal professional who exhibits outstanding leadership and promotes the highest standards in the care and use of laboratory animals. The Award was sponsored by Innovive.

Dr. Arvind Ingle is a post graduate in Veterinary Pathology from Post Graduate Institute, PDKV, Akola, MS, India in 1992 and obtained his Ph.D. in 2012. He served as Livestock Development Officer in the Animal Husbandry Department of State Government (Maharashtra) from June 1992 to September 1993 and joined Laboratory Animal Facility of Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai, India, in October 1993.

Dr. Ingle is involved in designing the animal facilities, revising the rules for housing and maintenance of animal facilities, and also serves on various committees of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) in India. He is the current President of the Laboratory Animal Scientists Association of India and also serves on various committees’ authorities on laboratory animal science in India. He has significantly contributed to the advancement of laboratory animal science in India by organizing regular training courses and workshops.

Congratulations to our two winners!