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What’s new @ Emory: Chemistry Building Expansion

During the 1980s, the first AIDS lab at Emory was established in Atwood, the main chemistry building on campus, which later led to the development of Emtriva, a breakthrough antiviral drug which is now used by more than 90% of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States, and by thousands more around the world. The proceeds from the sale of the drug to a pharmaceutical company are now funding the large expansion and renovation to the cement-clad “bunker” chemistry building. This is great news for the over 200 undergraduate chemistry majors, 120 graduate chemistry students, and faculty members alike. (Fast fact: Emory has nearly twice as many chemistry majors as our other, larger, peer institutions. We must be doing something right!)

Expected to open by August 2015, the Atwood expansion will include a five-story, glass-fronted atrium, an open-area library, interactive classrooms that include round tables and large video screens, research labs, and faculty and research offices. Fume hoods throughout the building will also be outfitted with cameras, so that everyone can see demonstrations clearly, like on a cooking show. Pretty snazzy!

As with all new construction and renovations at Emory, building designers have worked closely with construction directors to plan the project, which has been designed for certification by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). This ensures that the construction of the building has been done with recycling and re-use as top priorities and that the day-to-day functioning of the building utilizes green materials and energy-efficient practices. LEED gurus will certify the building once construction is complete with a ranking of silver, gold, or platinum. (Learn more about Emory’s hard-core commitment to being earth-friendly on our Sustainability site.)

The new Atwood design is focused on creating a science hub for the university. Chemistry department heads see where cross-discipline conversations and work as the future of their field, and that’s exactly what the design has in mind. The building will bring organic and biochemists, physicians and biologists, faculty and students, together in collaboration on ground-breaking research, teaching forums, and current projects.

Don’t hesitate to connect with us by posting a comment to this blog, tweeting us @emoryadmission, or emailing us at We look forward to hearing from you!


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