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Inauguration of the Rosalind Franklin building

The new Rosalind Franklin building was inaugurated on October 25, in the presence of sponsors and managing bodies representatives, journalists and CIRI and SFR staff. Here's a look back at the day's events.
Inauguration of the Rosalind Franklin building
When Oct 25, 2023
Where 50 avenue Tony Garnier, 69007 LYON

The Rosalind Franklin building recently became home to CIRI and SFR Biosciences (Unité d'Appui et de Recherche/Unité de Service en Biologie). Located on the Gerland campus of Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, these new premises are part of the Gerland biodistrict, an ecosystem that is conducive to the development of CIRI's cutting-edge research in infectiology. The Rosalind Franklin building will also enable us to bring together the management and administration teams of these two units.


Presentation of the activities happening in this building

Following presentations by François-Loïc Cosset and François Vandenesch for CIRI and Yann Leverrier for SFR Biosciences, two CIRI researchers presented their work and projects to illustrate the research happening at the Centre.

Sophie Trouillet-Assant (VirPath team) presented her project, which aims to propose new diagnostic and prognostic tools for emerging viral respiratory diseases. This project is funded by the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche), as part of the Chaire Industrielle program, and was launched on October 11, 2023. She also reported on the collaborative work carried out by several CIRI teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a publication in Nature on vaccine efficacy and contributed to a revision of vaccination policies.

Xavier Charpentier first introduced the diversity of reasearch work conducted in the bacteriology field at the CIRI, then presented the work of his Horigene team. It focuses on antibiotic resistance, a public health scourge that has been on the rise in recent years. The team is particularly interested in the emergence of this resistance and the underlying mechanisms in the bacterial pathogen Acinetobacter baumanii.

6 of CIRI's 26 other teams have set up their workbenches and offices in the Rosalind Franklin building.


Cutting-edge technological equipments

SFR Biosciences' five technology platforms include a brand-new flow cytometry platform. State-of-the-art equipment enables multiparametric analysis of rare cell populations, particularly useful in the study of immune responses.

There are also Level 3 confined laboratories. These laboratories can handle and study high-risk pathogens.

These facilities contribute to the cutting-edge research carried out by CIRI teams in the fields of immunology, bacteriology and virology.



The building was financed to the tune of 15 M€ under the State-Region Plan Contract:

- Auvergne Rhône Alpes Region: €6.5 M
- Metropolis of Lyon: €5.5 M
- Inserm: €2 M
- Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1: €1 M

The equipment was also partly financed by :

- FEDER-FSE CIRI equipment program, awarded by the Region and supported by Inserm: €1.9 M
- FEDER-FSE SFR Biosciences PIExMiCo equipment program (platform for experimentation in confined environments), awarded by the Region and supported by the ENS de Lyon: €2.9 M
- EquipEx Infectio Tron, awarded by ANR and supported by Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1.


Representatives of these funding bodies were present for the occasion. In keeping with tradition, they cut the ribbon to mark the inauguration of the new building.


The Rosalind Franklin building

The architectural project is by JAQ Architectes in association with Moon Safari Architecture & urbanisme. The project has been nominated in the "Lieux d'activités" category of the Equerre d'Argent 2023 architectural prize. The CIRI and the SFR highlighted Denis GERLIER's involvement and work on this project, from plan design to the final year of work, and extended its warmest thanks to him.

The name of the building, chosen by the staff, pays tribute to Rosalind Franklin, a pioneering physical chemist in her field. Now known for her work that led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, her work in X-ray crystallography has also led to advances in infectious diseases. A major example is the determination of the RNA structure of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). A plaque in the building's lobby pays tribute to this scientist, who has been too long forgotten by the history of science. 
Find out more about Rosalind Franklin (editorial Nature, 2020).



Adapted from :