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“Fostering Collaboration, Connecting Minds, and Advancing Sciences”

By January 5, 2024No Comments

The Story of Bridgeside Point 1’s Contribution to the Evolving Pittsburgh Life Sciences Ecosystem

Situated at 100 Technology Drive in The Pittsburgh Technology Center (PTC) and adjacent to the Hot Metal Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA, the 160,000 square foot Bridgeside Point 1 (Bridgeside) building is more than a mix of wet labs, classrooms, and research spaces – it is a hub fostering collaboration in an innovative scientific research community where the future of medicine, biology, and technology are being forged.

For several years, collaborations between The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), Collaborative Real Estate (Collab), and leaders of multiple higher education institutions and community organizations in Pittsburgh have envisioned new spaces for research and university-industry collaboration. Throughout these engagements, there has been a consistent aim to support the growth of university research enterprises and advance the knowledge-based economy in the region through thoughtful and inclusive programming. In 2021, Bridgeside was acquired by TUFF and Collab to provide a platform from which to continue the pursuit of these goals.

In its early stages, intentional programming at Bridgeside was centered around understanding and ‘’activating’’ the diverse tenants within the building, encompassing a unique mix of physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) departments, a craniofacial clinic, and research institutes focusing on aging sciences and communication disorders. The initiation of ‘’activations’’, defined as curated experiences designed to fortify a community’s culture, was marked by Bridgeside’s inaugural networking event spearheaded by Amanda Weaver, Collab’s dedicated Community Manager and Activation Specialist. Participants gathered on the scenic rooftop overlooking the river to engage in discussions about the vital importance of networking as a tool to advance innovation. They also expressed preferences for future activations, including seminars from existing tenants, optimal use of collaboration spaces, and the continuation of community social events.

Showcases soon followed in 2022 on topics socializing the breadth of research and talent amongst individual tenants in the building with events such as Unraveling the Basic Biology of Aging, hosted by Toren Finkel, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, held in the fifth floor shared meeting space. Attendees gained exclusive insights into the world of aging and learned about innovative therapies addressing age-related diseases via topics such as Alzheimer’s, cardiometabolic diseases, and degradation associated with age-related diseases. These early gatherings demonstrated the essential elements needed to cultivate unity and a shared purpose within Bridgeside’s diverse community: active engagement, open communication, and a commitment to collective goals.

As relationships within Bridgeside deepened, activations emerged beyond the walls of the building. Events like this Pittsburgh Power Meal tackled topics such as the Great Resignation and the transition from academia to industry, signifying a pivotal shift from internal community building to forging connections across the PTC. And a summer Local Life Sciences Happy Hour, hosted by Christian Manders, COO of Promethean LifeSciences, Inc., expanded the audience even further, drawing over 50 Bridgeside tenants, PTC representatives, prominent local leaders, executives, educators, students, and industry professionals. This gathering marked a significant evolution in the impact of intentional activations, demonstrating that relationships cultivated within Bridgeside were creating new bridges across the broader Pittsburgh landscape.

Programming matured further in 2023 with events geared towards evolving research and advancing university-industry collaboration. The Women In Bio – Pittsburgh event, Product Lifecycle in Healthcare, brought together current and new members of the chapter to learn from consulting firm Clinical Research Strategies. Clinical Research Strategies specializes in innovation, regulatory sciences, policy and reform, and assists in navigating regulations for devices and drugs as they approach market entry. Julie Cramer, PhD, MS, and Director of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs emphasized how their firm is “very involved in our community here in Pittsburgh and across the region. We know it takes a village to have Pittsburgh rise up in the life sciences industry and we pride ourselves on being involved in the community.”

Demonstrating her dedication to helping that village advance, our own Amanda Weaver has assumed the role of Co-Vice Chair for Women In Bio’s Pittsburgh chapter in 2024. Her leadership contributions across the PTC also resulted in her appointment as Vice President for the Pittsburgh Technology Center Association (PTCA). These achievements underscore the enduring impact of intentional programming, shaping not only communities, but individual careers.

As we look to the future, Bridgeside is poised to achieve deeper integration into the broader scientific research community by building stronger connections with key institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the University of Pittsburgh (UPitt), and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Partnerships will also continue to extend further into the local landscape via enhanced engagements with the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) and the Pittsburgh Innovation District (PID).

The roadmap to collective success is an ongoing journey and we encourage you to visit Bridgeside’s events page to explore exciting opportunities and get involved, and follow along as the story of Pittsburgh’s dynamic life sciences ecosystem unfolds.