Bridge connecting BSB and Biochemistry Labs. Photo by Althea Dotzou


The Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Complex consists of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Building (420 Henry Mall), the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building (440 Henry Mall), which was built in 2012, and the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Laboratories (433 Babcock Dr.), which was built in 1998.

The complex has over 120,000 square feet of modern, capable and safe facilities available to students and researchers. Skywalks connect the buildings, allowing easy movement between facilities, which include a wide array of conference rooms, lab spaces, offices, reading rooms, and other research and teaching facilities. There is a small café located in the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building, and there are floor-to-ceiling murals painted by John Steuart Curry in the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Building.

To learn more about the land on which the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Complex sits, read our Land Acknowledgment »


These murals, painted by John Steuart Curry and located in the hallway and seminar room of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Building, depict the beneficent effect of biochemistry on life. The murals were made possible through the cooperation and support of the Brittingham Trust.

The mural in the hallway: Imagery in shafts of light shows healthy human and animal life. In the shadows is depicted life suffering from various nutritional deficiencies.

To the left of the large panel is shown a family suffering from pellagra and nutritional deficiencies due to sub-marginal living conditions derived from poor soil and eroded land. Shown are the butterfly mask of pellagra on a little girl’s face and the effects of rickets on a small child. A locust tree with a sickle hanging on its limb is characteristic of such impoverished soils. Locust trees are one of the few that can fix atmospheric nitrogen and thus maintain themselves in such surroundings.

The panel to the right of the stairway depicts both healthy and nutritionally deficient animals. Shown are chickens suffering from rickets, a young pig suffering from lack of iodine, and a calf with rickets. Towards the top, the theme of health and vigor possessed by well-nourished animals pervades. At the top stands Chanticleer, announcing the birth of a new day in biochemistry.

The panel to the left of the stairway depicts plant forms suffering from soil deficiencies and various diseases, such as tobacco mosaic disease. In the light are shown healthy corn, potatoes and tobacco grown in a well-fertilized soil.

The mural in the seminar room: The large wall to the left of the doorway shows a southern Wisconsin landscape. Strip farming and various soil erosion control methods are shown on a background of a view representative of the Wisconsin River between Sauk City and the Mississippi River. To the right, in the square panel, is the sun, the source of all energy. Solar energy is imparted to plants, as shown by the ripening and maturing fields, and ultimately becomes the energy for all animal life. The ultraviolet lamp in the lower left-hand corner represents the discovery made at UW–Madison that the vitamin D activity in milk is increased by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The energy may be released, as in the case of fire around which a Native American woman cooks her food. The coal mining industry, built around carbon and the use of stored energy, is also depicted.

On the opposite wall is shown the nitrogen cycle and the fixation of nitrogen by the actions of leguminous plants and root nodule bacteria. Through this process, nitrogen becomes fixed, and plants grow to become food for animals and humans.

Read more about the murals on the Public Art at UW–Madison website.

Building Awards

Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences and Biochemistry Building

2014 AIA Wisconsin Honor Award

2013 IIDA Wisconsin, First Place, Educational/Institutional

The Daily Reporter Magazine, Top Projects of 2012

The Daily Reporter Magazine, Top Projects of 2011 – Green Projects

Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Laboratories 

1999 AIA Wisconsin Honor Award

1999 State of Wisconsin Award for Excellence in Architectural Design

DeLuca Complex Map

Map of DeLuca Biochemistry Complex