As one of the first of its kind, the Molecular Biology Graduate Program was formed in the late 1950's with the goal of providing a multi-disciplinary graduate training environment in the new area of molecular biology. Salvador Luria, a Nobel laureate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was invited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to analyze the specific conditions existing here and to suggest what might be done to further research and training in the active new field of "Molecular Biology."
Luria suggested that molecular biology was likely to become the core of modern biology and the University should create a Center of Molecular Biology charged with the responsibility for promoting research and training in the area. At the same time, plans to create a Center for Biophysics were being developed. One building to house both the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the Department of Biophysics was planned.
The building committee was co-chaired by Professors Paul Kaesberg and Robert Bock. Professor Bock was considered a national leader of university research and graduate training. He also served as scientific advisor to four Wisconsin governors. The Molecular Biology/Biophysics building was completed in 1967 and became the home for the departments' graduate degree programs. After the death of Professor Bock in 1991, the building was renamed in his honor. Extensive remodelling and upgrading of the building facility were completed in the summer of 1998.