The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex

Bold New Brock

The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex

The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex is a unique research and graduate teaching facility that is directly aligned with economic strategies of the regional, provincial and federal governments. The 176,530-square-foot $111.4-million research complex will support 400 students, faculty, scientists and researchers from the Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Mathematics and Science and Social Sciences. They will use the facility to leverage Brock’s strengths in research and scientific discovery, piloting Niagara and beyond to the new knowledge economy. 

Transforming to the knowledge economy
Fundamental to keeping Canada at the forefront of innovation in the global knowledge economy are human resources — people — who will be leaders for future economic growth. The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex will educate the next generation of leaders to fill these roles.

The need for trained staff with industry-specific skills has never been more critical. According to a 2009 BioTalent Canada study, 63 per cent of biomanufacturing companies reported job vacancies for skills that will be gained by our graduate and undergraduate students in the NHBRC. Research and development topped the list as one of the most prominent areas in the sector in which there are human resource shortages.

Creating jobs in the health and biotechnology sectors
The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex will forge new economic partnerships between research and industry that will foster a new economic cluster in advanced health studies and biomanufacturing in Niagara and beyond.

The building will feature an industry-led incubator — an accelerator for small- and medium-sized health and bioscience enterprises. Graduate students and researchers working in The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex will take ideas generated in the lab, and through the incubator, will create new companies and knowledge economy jobs for Canadians. The incubator will be designed to link science graduate students to local economic development resources and MBA students from Brock’s internationally accredited Faculty of Business to develop business plans, access funding and market these new products and services.

Discovering treatments and prevention for the world’s most deadly diseases
The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex will feature Canada’s only research-dedicated Level 3 containment laboratory with an insectary, enabling students and researchers to pursue treatments for some of the most deadly diseases in the world like SARS, tuberculosis, malaria and West Nile virus.

The facility will provide support for four Canada Research Chairs and several award-winning researchers in biotechnology, green chemistry, plant pathology and health and wellness. Health research will focus on the areas of diabetes, cancer, obesity, spinal cord injuries and other musculoskeletal diseases such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

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For more information, including photos of construction progress, artisitc renderings and profiles of our researchers, visit

Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing
The complex will include the Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing where leading researchers will advance knowledge in human health care, pharmaceutical drugs, green science and the development of value-added agricultural and horticultural crops.

Emerging developments include new potential anti-cancer compounds, anti-viral compounds to treat various forms of influenza, novel syntheses of analgesic compounds to treat pain, and the development of genetically enhanced non-food plants to deliver value-added products that build on Ontario’s agriculture base.

Plant Repurposing Institute
Located within the Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing, the Plant Repurposing Institute will focus on research to turn plants into “plant factories,” for use in pharmaceutical production. By offering a safer, faster and cheaper pharmaceutical production alternative, the institute will attract pharmaceutical investment to southern Ontario. Researchers will utilize a state-of-the-art greenhouse, a biotransformation laboratory and facilities for plant cell transformation and bacterial growth. The Institute will leverage research relationships with partners like Niagara College and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.

Bringing doctors closer to home
The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex will be the home for the Niagara Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. As a result, new medical doctors will be educated closer to underserved communities. The building is designed to encourage collaboration between researchers and students, which will result in innovations between the further study, treatment and prevention of diseases. 

Facility details
In addition to extensive research facilities and offices, the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex will include a state-of-the-art computer lab and additional teaching laboratories for both the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and Department of Biology.

The Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex will be developed based on principles of sustainability and quality environments. We’re aiming for a “certified” rating or higher on the Canadian Green Building Council’s LEED scoring system.

Thank you
In September 2010, the Cairns family made a transformational gift that will have a $10-million impact on the construction of the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex. The generous support of the Cairns family is helping Niagara transform to the new knowledge economy. Students and researchers within the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex will build on our current economic strengths to create applied knowledge that will develop new and diverse industries and advance scientific capabilities in Niagara and beyond.

In addition to the Cairns family’s gift, it’s thanks to contributions from the Government of Canada’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program ($38 million), the Government of Ontario ($33.5 million), the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine ($4 million) and the Regional Municipality of Niagara ($2 million) that we’re on our way to achieving our $111.4-million goal for this key investment for Canada’s economic growth infrastructure. But we’re not there yet. We’re looking to the community to make an important investment in the future. Please consider supporting the Campaign for a Bold New Brock.