The Institute for Drug Safety Sciences opened Thursday at in RTP.

The center, which includes a 14,000 square foot lab, is a collaborative project between UNC-Chapel Hill and the Hamner.

Paul Watkins, a professor of medicine at UNC-CH, will serve as the center’s director. He is recognized as an expert in drug-induced liver injury.

The center already has begun hiring key research personnel and is working with the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration as well as private sector firms on research that initially focuses on liver toxicity. The first project launched in March.