The UC Berkeley campus community this week celebrated the grand opening of the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub (BBH), the campus’s bold new home for research and innovation.
The remarkable facility, located in Woo Hon Fai Hall, the former Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, combines the Bakar Labs incubator with scholarships and programming for Berkeley students and researchers, equipping STEM entrepreneurs with labs, offices, equipment and shared community spaces.
After two years of seismic upgrades and renovations, BBH celebrated its opening this month. Bakar Labs, the facility’s flagship life sciences incubator, has been operational since mid-November, offering space to tenant companies.
Tuesday night’s grand opening brought together Berkeley’s large community of researchers, entrepreneurs, and change makers who have supported the transformation of the building since its inception.
“Old galleries, once a space for quiet contemplation, are now filled with wet labs and world-class collaboration areas, where teams from start-ups can test, develop and grow their ideas, a bench to the time,” Chancellor Carol Christ said Tuesday. “The transformation of the building is in itself a work of art… It took many towns to help us get to this moment.”
Attendees mingled in outdoor areas where they learned more about the newly renovated space, and a “dinner stroll” on the lower terrace of the building featured interactive exhibits from students and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Tours of the four-story building were also given, including a look at the 40,000 square feet of laboratory and office space that startups are currently using to support their research, ranging from gene and cell therapy to food technology to alternatives to meat and go. agricultural crop production.
The facility was created in collaboration between UC Berkeley and QB3, a University of California institute that supports UC’s entrepreneurship and research programs. Almost 20 startups have already moved into the space, which has the capacity to support more than 50 companies.
“(We) are going to be an incredible model for the country on how to translate technologies to benefit society. Our tenant companies are solving important challenges in medicine and the environment, while creating high-value jobs,” said BBH Director David Schaffer, who is also a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and molecular and molecular engineering at UC Berkeley. Cell Biology. “In addition, at BBH and QB3 we are launching undergraduate and graduate training programs with Bakar Labs companies to help train California’s future workforce.”
Guests were also treated to a conversation between 2020 Nobel Laureate and Berkeley Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna and Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former Executive Director of the Gates Foundation. BBH founding director Amy Herr also spoke Tuesday about the “enormous challenges facing humanity” and how Berkeley is responding.
“In a uniquely Berkeley way, the BBH offers a magical spark designed to ignite truly original ideas from people who think differently, not just looking to the present but, very importantly, looking to tomorrow,” said Herr. , professor of bioengineering at Berkeley. “As we celebrate the opening of BBH, we are implicitly celebrating that magical spark that is UC Berkeley: being tirelessly impatient to heed the call to create a better future for all.”
Amy Herr, David Schaffer, Reg Kelly, Tammy Hsu, and Kwasi Apori celebrate the opening of the Bakar BioEngenuity Hub (Video by Jenny Chu, Stefanie Kalem, and Michael Lin).