UNC Lineberger helped celebrate the opening of Marsico Hall today, the newest research building to house an impressive array of programs, including several affiliated with the cancer center.

Marsico Hall, as viewed from West Drive, where it connects to the UNC Lineberger building
Tom Marsico (left) with UNC Lineberger Director Ned Sharpless and UNC Vice Chancellor of Development David Routh

Researchers, elected officials and the University community gathered today to dedicate the opening of Marsico Hall, the newest on-campus facility supporting health research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The largest research building on campus, Marsico Hall will house an impressive array of programs, including several from UNC Lineberger. Key cancer research teams will move into the building – which is physically connected to the UNC Lineberger building – later this summer.

“Today’s dedication of Marisco Hall marks the culmination of a long-standing commitment by our state to support cancer research,” said Ned Sharpless, MD, director of UNC Lineberger. “The opening of this amazing facility – coupled with the University Cancer Research Fund and our state-of-the-art NC Cancer Hospital – will improve the quality of life and treatment of cancer patients from throughout our state.”

Funds for the building were provided by the people of North Carolina through state appropriations to further the research mission of UNC-Chapel Hill. The facility has a total project cost of $245 million, with the N.C. General Assembly providing $243.5 million to construct the building and UNC providing the remaining $1.5 million.

“We are grateful for the state’s generous contributions that have made Marsico Hall a reality,” Bill Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, said. “Because of the state’s investment, students and faculty will be able to further advance scientific discovery and the delivery of care for North Carolinians and beyond – all in a leading edge facility. This building is a gift from the people of North Carolina, and it is with great pride that we dedicate the building to them and to the advancement of the health sciences.”

Bringing together research teams from across campus under the same roof, Marsico Hall will further advance UNC Lineberger’s campus-wide collaboration in cancer research and clinical care. One of UNC Lineberger’s programs that will see significant expansion as a result of Marsico Hall is cancer immunology and immunotherapy, a growing field focused on harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. In addition, the enhanced laboratory and computational space will bring the cancer center’s translational researchers together with those developing novel cancer drugs, creating innovative means of delivering those drugs to patients’ tumors while sparing their normal tissue.

“Research teams that were once scattered across campus will now be together in labs just 10 feet away,” said Sharpless. “Breaking down these physical barriers will create more collaboration and continue to position UNC as a leader in the next generation of cancer treatment.”

Marsico Hall will also enhance the cancer center’s capacity in state-of-the-art imaging for patients. The building will be equipped with the most advanced imaging equipment, including an MRI/PET scanner and a 7 Tesla MRI full body scanner.

Formerly the Imaging Research Building or the Biomedical Research Imaging Center building, Marsico Hall is named for Thomas F. Marsico of Denver, Colorado, for his lifetime contributions to health-care programs at UNC-Chapel Hill. The only new public building funded by the state in 2009, Marsico Hall is essential to North Carolina’s economy and mission of scientific discovery.