MADISON – Since it opened at the beginning of the school year, the Microbial Sciences Building has been drawing rave reviews from students and researchers who work and study in the new facility.

Now, the public can get an insider’s look at the building. To celebrate the building’s formal dedication taking place this weekend (Oct. 26-28), students in the microbial sciences will give guided tours of the building from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.

With 330,000 square feet of research and instructional space, Microbial Sciences is the largest academic building on campus. It houses two departments – the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Department of Bacteriology and the School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology – that investigate the role of microscopic organisms on our food, health and environment.

The $125 million facility houses laboratories that study diseases such as malaria, influenza and meningitis and develop new types of antibiotic drugs to treat illness and disease.

The building is also home to UW-Madison’s Food Research Institute, which helps the food industry prevent contamination of our food supply, and the new Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which is investigating how microbes might be used to create new sources of sustainable energy.

The building is notable for its striking design, an open, airy concept created to spark collaboration and interaction among students and researchers. Labs are arranged in “neighborhoods,” organized based on shared research interests, which flow from a six-story atrium that acts as a town square and informal gathering spot.

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for dramatic views of campus, the city and Lake Mendota, while also lending light to state-of-the-art instructional labs that are designed to bring out the best in students and their teachers.

The Oct. 28 open house caps a busy weekend for the building, which will be formally dedicated at a 2 p.m. ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26. Gov. Jim Doyle, UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley and Deans Robert Golden and Molly Jahn will be among those offering brief insights on the building’s design and completion. At 10 a.m. that same day, four UW-Madison professors in the microbial sciences will discuss their research projects as part of a celebration symposium, which will take place in the building’s Ebling Symposium Center.