Queens College Gets $2 Million For Lab Upgrade

Staff Writer

Last week, Queens College received a significant chunk of change to upgrade a decades-old research and teaching laboratory.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) presented the college with a $2 million grant on July 17, funding that he secured in this year’s State budget negotiations. The money will go towards renovating a laboratory in Remsen Hall that has had the same benches since it opened in 1950.

Chemistry professor Michael Mirkin uses the soon-to-be upgraded lab, teaching and leading a large group in research assignments. However, the age of the equipment is creating significant challenges.

According to Mirkin, the benches and workstations are covered with dust that cannot be removed or cleaned up. The particles infect the experiments and affect the results. The condition of the room also impacts his students’ morale.

“It’s hard for them to maintain the feeling that their work is valuable,” Mirkin said. “It’s real nice to think that we may create a more modern, more reasonable research environment.”

Queens College’s interim president, Evangelos Gizis, added that if enough funds are leftover, the college may try to renovate a second laboratory with the $2 million grant.

Robert Engel, an organic chemistry professor, said that the new laboratory should be roomier and fluid enough to rearrange for any future developments.

Avella said that he was happy to give the funds and contribute to the learning experience for Queens College’s students.

“We need to make sure every single college, especially part of CUNY, has the best resources,” he said.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @JoeMarvilli.