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About the Stanford ChEM-H Building and the Stanford Neurosciences Building

A new research complex

This new research complex serves as the home base for two interdisciplinary life sciences institutes at Stanford University: Sarafan ChEM-H and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. The 235,000 square foot complex is home to more than 30 laboratories, shared research facilities, meeting spaces and a pub. The complex is ideally situated between the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine and the James H. Clark Center, with the School of Humanities and Sciences also nearby. Strong connecting pathways between the schools and Stanford Bio-X are integral to the design.

The research complex is arranged into two L-shaped buildings flanking an oval courtyard. The complex has 4 floors, one below ground and three above, with laboratory, meeting, and communal spaces throughout the buildings. The labs are designed to be highly flexible, accommodating a wide variety of research approaches including cell and molecular biology, chemistry, imaging and microscopy, engineering and a wide variety of neuroscience techniques. Labs are grouped into neighborhoods of 3-5 labs sharing a common, open lab space adjacent to lab support rooms for specialized equipment and procedures.

The second floor has large open spaces that frame the courtyard and will be filled with comfortable furniture and natural light. These living room spaces are designed to draw residents out of their labs to meet and interact with each other as well as with visitors in this unique and inviting space. 

Two key interaction spaces will be the pub and multipurpose room. These elements are featured prominently on the northeast entrance to the complex. We hope to establish a unique eatery on this side of campus, to be open for lunch and dinner, and to be a place to meet with colleagues after work. The multipurpose room is inspired by the versatility and scenic views of the Mackenzie Room in Huang Engineering Center, and will be the location for seminars, symposia and colloquia.

In the planning process for the new research complex, Sarafan ChEM-H and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute leveraged the most successful elements from the Clark Center and other interdisciplinary research buildings at Stanford. These critical elements include spaces that draw people from across campus into the center, places where researchers meet and mix with residents from other lab neighborhoods, and walking paths that facilitate spontaneous interactions. We have created a lively, interdisciplinary research complex dedicated to groundbreaking research accelerating chemistry to improve human health and to innovative brain science.

Stanford ChEM-H Building

Learn more about Sarafan ChEM-H

Sarafan ChEM-H is an institute built for the future of academic research. By removing the barriers that divide disciplines and bringing together chemists, engineers, biologists, and clinicians, ChEM-H aims to understand life at a molecular level and apply that knowledge to improving human health. ChEM-H builds on Stanford’s extraordinary talent in the Schools of Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as its proximity to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, to explore this new frontier at the interface of chemistry and human biology.

The heart of Sarafan ChEM-H is the people--the faculty, staff, and trainees who call on interdisciplinary toolsets and collaboration to solve big problems in human health. Our diverse faculty includes our Institute Scholars, hired by the Institute in conjunction with Stanford schools and departments, and affiliated Faculty Fellows.  

Central to the Sarafan ChEM-H mission is the education of a new type of researcher and future scientific leader who is fluent in multiple scientific languages to transform our approach to human health. ChEM-H undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs prepare trainees to pioneer new basic science discoveries, develop breakthrough diagnostics and therapeutics, and revolutionize healthcare.

Sarafan ChEM-H provides programming, resources, and expertise to encourage collaboration and accelerate discovery and translation through its Knowledge Centers that connect researchers with talented staff scientists, tools, and techniques in medicinal chemistry, metabolomics, macromolecular structure, and high throughput screening. ChEM-H also forms the foundation of the Innovative Medicines Accelerator, which helps Stanford scientists cross the barriers that separate drug prototypes developed in the lab from human clinical testing.

Seed grants, postdoctoral fellowships, and industry partnerships, among other programs at Sarafan ChEM-H provide funding to individuals and initiatives pushing the boundaries of human health research.



Stanford Neurosciences Building

Learn more about the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute

The Stanford Neurosciences Building serves as the intellectual hub for Wu Tsai Neuro. The labs are designed to be highly flexible, accommodating a wide variety of research approaches including cell and molecular biology, electrophysiology and behavior, imaging and microscopy, human neuroscience and engineering, and theoretical and computational neuroscience. In the heart of the Stanford Neurosciences Building is the Theory Center — with physical and visual connectivity to the rest of the labs, and a mezzanine level designed to draw experimentalists and human neuroscientists in for conversation and collaboration.

Several key neuroscience community labs are planned for the research complex. The neuroscience microscopy service and the gene virus and vector core will be located on site, along with the newly formed neuroscience human brain organogenesis lab. New community labs will be launched when the facility is complete: a human neuroscience lab and a neuroengineering sandbox lab. There will be procedure rooms for behavior experiments and an imaging center is planned to accommodate MRI and PET-CT instruments.

The interdisciplinary neurosciences PhD program administration will have their offices in the center, including a space where graduate students in the program can work and mingle 24/7. Finally, the administrative team for the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute will reside in the complex, welcoming the Stanford community to visit, explore, and interact.

ChEM-H / Neuro research complex design team


Ennead Architects LLP, New York, NY

General Contractor

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Pleasanton, CA

Laboratory Planner

GL Planning & Design, Inc, San Francisco, CA

Structural Engineer

Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco, CA

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineer

Gayner Engineers, San Francisco, CA

Civil Engineer

MacKay & Somps, Pleasanton, CA

Landscape Engineer

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Seattle, WA