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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

SQI expands into new Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

The Simpson Querrey Institute’s footprint on the Chicago campus has expanded by 5,400 square feet with the addition of faculty offices and research space in the brand-new Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center. Researchers from the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE) and from the startup company Amphix Bio began moving into the building in October. 

SQI’s space — part of the Bioengineering floor in the new building — connects seamlessly to its current laboratories and administrative offices on the 11th floor of the adjacent Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center.

The crown jewel of the expansion is a planned Synthetic Materials Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) pilot facility. Products generated under GMP regulations are of the highest quality and can be utilized in human clinical trials. SQI's pilot facility will allow investigators to develop and produce GMP-compliant materials on a larger scale. The highly controlled environment will have strict protocols for how people and materials enter and exit the space, as well as cleanliness standards to eliminate the risk of contamination.

Other key spaces tailored to SQI’s research interests include a tissue culture room for in vitro cell work and the following areas designed for CBIE, which was a part of SQI at the time of the expansion:

  • A hospital simulation room which will allow researchers to test how their devices function in a clinical setting. For example, this space could be set up with an incubator and other features of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to enable CBIE director John Rogers and his team to work with the wireless sensors they develop to measure vital signs in NICU babies.
  • A maker’s lab, or a small manufacturing space outfitted with light machinery tools. This area will be useful for crafting biomedical devices.
  • A Faraday cage, which is an enclosure that blocks electromagnetic fields. This space is specially designed for high-precision testing of devices developed at CBIE.

In addition to these features, SQI shares common areas with the Center for Synthetic Biology (CSB) and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). These spaces include a large conference room overlooking Lake Michigan and a multifunctional collaboration suite that will be ideal for small-group meetings, spontaneous research discussions and receptions.

SQI and its bioengineering neighbors on the floor have many common and complementary interests, and they are also directly engaged in projects with Feinberg School of Medicine faculty who have laboratories elsewhere in the new building. The researchers who work in this beautiful new space are likely to produce meaningful collaborations and powerful research results. In this spirit, SQI’s seven faculty offices in the expanded space are intermingled with those of CSB and BME to further promote multi-disciplinary conversation and experimentation.