Biomedical Sciences and Health Professions Building II Receives LEED Certification
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 29, 2014 – University of Texas at Brownsville exercise science graduate student Billy Perez of Brownsville has worked since February collecting data from 37 volunteers to test the effects of blood flow restriction on blood lactate before and after exercise for his master’s thesis.
The building received 46 points out of a possible 49 points to be Certified. Other statuses are Silver, Gold and Platinum which have higher point scales. To be acknowledged by the U.S. Green Building Council, projects must meet environmental and efficiency building standards that can reduce utilities and electrical usage.
The building continues the university’s growing mission of biomedical research to find solutions to local and worldwide health problems. In 2012 the university had $8.3 million in annual research expenditures compared to 2002 when there was $1.2 million in annual research expenditures, according to university financial information. Biomedical makes up 27 percent of the university’s 2012 research portfolio, according to the Office of the Vice President for Research.
“I believe the building is instrumental to moving biomedical research to the next stage by expanding the range of research capabilities,” said Dr. Michael Lehker, Associate Dean of the College of Biomedical Sciences and Health Professions and Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedicine. “The building so far certainly has done so by providing valuable research laboratory space to exercise physiology, bioengineering and biophysics research. Student researchers are now also trained in experimental methods and experimental design in our Freshman Research Initiative. These trained students will be valuable assets to the research activities of our faculty.”
Exercise Science students Billy Perez, Juan Paredes and Isis Treviño perform research in the Biomedical Research II building.
Perez, 24, a graduate of Hanna High School and a 2012 UTB graduate with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, is using a blood lactate system, an electromyography machine, a Biodex dynamometer and KAATSU-Master cuffs to make his determinations inside the laboratory of Dr. Murat Karabulut, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance in the College of Education. The cuffs can wrap around the arms or legs and enable people to work out at a lower intensity and see faster results.
“My work is important because it will aid in determining a proper protocol for blood flow restriction exercise,” said Perez. “Currently, this method of exercise is unavailable for use in rehabilitation and gym settings because of the lack of a universal protocol.”
The Biomedical Sciences and Health Professions Building II formally opened in September 2013. The $4.9 million, 4,299-square-foot building was funded by a National Institutes of Health grant and the university. The structure has faculty offices, support space and six Biosafety Level 2 laboratories built to Center for Disease Control and Prevention standards, which include limited laboratory access and requirements for handling non-contaminated and contaminated items.
The university has also embraced the concept of a Net Zero campus. It is an idea that was championed by UTB environmental science students, who took the concept on as a class project, and whose research and conviction persuaded university leaders as well. Adopting a Net Zero campus means the university strives to create as much energy as being used and becoming wise environmental stewards of the planet.