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WWAMI will benefit
Krueger move consolidates sleep research in Spokane
Monday, Aug. 23, 2010
By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane
08-23-10 - Pacific NW Inlander - Spokane getting sleepier
Krueger to speak at Harvard Medical sleep conference, Sept. 22
About James Krueger, sleep researcher
Krueger is a pioneer in research focused on the biochemical regulation of sleep, the relationships between sleep and infectious disease, and how the brain is organized to produce sleep. He brings with him a long-standing research program funded by the National Institutes of Health and other extramural sources that totals more than $15 million in cumulative research expenditures since 1997.
Krueger's reassignment to the medical education program will provide several important benefits for the WWAMI program in general and WSU sleep research specifically. His arrival will strengthen the research base needed to offer the full four years of undergraduate medical education at Riverpoint, along with expanded graduate medical education in the region.
"Not only will Jim's move to the Riverpoint Campus consolidate the critical mass of sleep research in Spokane," said Bryan Slinker, vice provost for health sciences, “it will also increase overall research activity on campus, which is one of the building blocks required for the development of the full medical education program we envision.
Who's moving where
By Judith Van Dongen
Jim Krueger's move to the Spokane campus has triggered a series of campus moves that will provide an opportunity for physical consolidation of several units that were previously separated.
The Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT) will move out of its space on the second floor of the Health Sciences Building to provide space for Krueger and his group that puts them close to other sleep researchers in the WWAMI medical education program, which is housed on the third floor of that building.
WIMHRT's new home is the fourth floor of the Academic Center, where it will occupy space previously assigned to the Office of Capital Planning and Development. The CPD office, in turn, has moved to a series of offices in the northeast corner of the South Campus Facility.
"It's great because it gets us over there with other support services such as Facilities Operations and Parking Services," said Ryan Ruffcorn. "It had been our plan for awhile to consolidate support services into the South Campus Facility, and it's nice to see that falling into place."
Previously a project manager in CPD, Ruffcorn took over as the office's new director in May and has been facilitating these departmental moves as part of his new responsibilities, which include overseeing design, construction and space use on the Riverpoint campus.
To make space for CPD, several faculty associated with the Interdisciplinary Design Institute have moved from the South Campus Facility to the Phase One Classroom Building. This consolidates the design faculty into a single building. The only exception is the Integrated Design Lab Inland Northwest, which remains in the South Campus Facility along with its interim director, Libby Blossom.
Another unit benefiting from the reallocation of spaces is Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), whose staff will move to more spacious quarters across the hall from the old office in the South Campus Facility.
All of these moves are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 1, and Ruffcorn said there's more to come in the next few months and years.
"We're growing so fast that we have to be able to consolidate space as we try to meet the needs of the departments and units on this campus," he said. "Until the new biomedical/health sciences building is complete, and even after that, we’re going to be pushing on our existing facilities to try to use them more efficiently."
"Jim retains his faculty appointment in VCAPP and neuroscience, strengthening the ties between Pullman and Spokane. This move will also aid growth of graduate education on the Riverpoint campus; the neuroscience graduate program will now have students studying with faculty in both Spokane and Vancouver, as well as in Pullman."
Krueger's move also will bring added opportunities to collaborate with other sleep researchers on campus. Krueger will be able to provide mentorship to younger faculty - some of whom trained with him as postdocs - and interact more with the Sleep and Performance Research Center senior leadership, including center director Gregory Belenky and assistant director Hans Van Dongen.
In fact, Van Dongen will take up an office near Krueger so he can spend part of his time working closely with Krueger to build a bridge between human and animal sleep research.
Finally, Krueger's presence will increase the chances of bringing in significant grant funding for all sleep researchers. He has already been working with WWAMI sleep researchers Levente Kapas, Eva Szentirmai, and Jonathan Wisor on several new NIH grant proposals and has future plans to apply for an NIH Center Grant with Van Dongen as the principal investigator.
"Grants are always stronger coming from a team of accomplished people, and the team is in Spokane," Krueger said. "I'm hoping that I can take advantage of that, and that they'll take advantage of me, and that collectively we can do these things."
Krueger will be moving his office to the second floor of the Health Sciences Building, where he will be close to other sleep researchers and WWAMI scientists. Faculty and staff joining Krueger in Spokane include research assistant professors Ping Taishi, Mark Zielinski, Chris Davis, and Parijat Sengupta; research technician Stewart Bohnet; and graduate students James Clinton and Kathryn Jewett.
The move is scheduled to be complete by early October, pending the renovation of space on campus to accommodate the added research activity. A number of moves to make space for Krueger and his group are already happening - see related article.