Extension of York’s world-class research centre underway

Construction is underway for a new, two-storey, state-of-the-art Neuroscience Laboratory and Research Building at York University that will advance research and innovation while providing students with experiential education opportunities.

The 52,000-square-foot building is an extension of the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre, which opened in 2010 due to the generosity and shared vision of philanthropists Honey and Barry Sherman.

“Barry and Honey Sherman’s legacy at York reflects their deep commitment to providing our students and faculty with the most advanced learning and research environments available,” said Lisa Philipps, York University’s provost and vice-president academic. “The Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre has since become a world-class centre for interdisciplinary research programs in biomedicine, brain function, vision, robotics and virtual reality. The construction of a new, innovative Neuroscience Laboratory and Research Building will help us to create the next scientific breakthroughs and the next generation of leading health scholars and researchers.”

Sherman extension groundbreaking
A ground-breaking ceremony for the new, two-storey, state-of-the-art Neuroscience Laboratory and Research Building took place on July 27

Since opening, the Sherman Health Sciences Research Center has brought together researchers and students from York’s Centre for Vision Research (CVR) with those in kinesiology and psychology to advance knowledge of the brain and neuroscience.

The Centre is also part of York’s sustainability commitment for the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program, a $120-million program supported in part by a $33-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). VISTA, led by York Research Chair in Visuomotor Neuroscience, Doug Crawford, advances visual science through collaborative research that spans computational and biological perspectives to develop real-world applications.

“As a leading research and teaching institution, York is committed to driving positive change for the communities we serve. We strive for this is by promoting a collaborative, welcoming and inclusive research and innovation environment that fosters novel and creative ideas to help solve complex societal issues, such as the health and well-being of our communities,” said Amir Asif, York University’s vice-president research and innovation. “This extension to the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre offers York an opportunity to expand on health science research areas providing and creating a positive impact on our local and global communities. The new building will house an interdisciplinary team of neuroscience researchers from Faculty of Health as well as the recently approved Centre for Integrative and Applied Neuroscience (CIAN).”

The new building, funded in part by a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant, is designed to be a source of cutting-edge research that will benefit diverse communities, ranging from adults and children with traumatic brain injuries (TMI) and athletes with sport concussions, to precariously housed and homeless individuals with clinical conditions.

The extension project will be constructed with a focus on sustainability, and will feature:

  • more than 60 per cent green roof and infiltration galleries;
  • all electric mechanical systems that will contribute to lowering the building carbon footprint;
  • a building energy model rating that is 35 per cent more efficient than the benchmark building in its category;
  • a mass timber structure that offsets building carbon use by storing carbon, and also brings warmth, speeds up construction and saves finishing costs;
  • most materials are sourced locally, which boosts local economy, minimizes supply chain delays, transportation emissions and costs; and
  • the building footprint will be compact.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held July 27, with Asif; Philipps; Elder Garry Sault, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation; Susan Murtha, interim dean of the Faculty of Health; and Vivian Saridakis, Faculty of Science associate professor, and associate dean research and graduate education; and Jeff Schall, inaugural scientific director of the York Visual Neurophysiology Centre, in attendance.