LEBANON, N.H. – The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center plans to construct a $116.5 million medical research center.

The idea is to bring research from Dartmouth’s medical school closer to the doctors who can use it to treat patients.

The Valley News reported officials expect to break ground by June on the Williamson Translational Research Building.

Duane Compton, senior associate dean for research at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, said the goal is to use the building for translating discoveries made in research laboratories into things that go to better and safer care for patients. Lessons learned in the hospital can be fed back to the laboratories.

“It’s actually been demonstrated that physical proximity has a lot to do with what sort of discoveries get made and how they get made,” Compton said.

“If you’re physically separating your basic scientists from your clinical activity, you’re creating a boundary. We’re trying to overcome that boundary by putting a building out there that’s going to have direct access to the clinicians, to the basic science that’s going on, to create that sort of proximity effect, to generate those new discoveries,” Compton said.

The center is being named for Peter Williamson of Lyme, a 1958 Dartmouth College graduate and neurologist and epilepsy expert who died from cancer in 2008.

Compton said cancer research will be a focus at the center, as well as neuroscience, inflammation and infectious disease and computational medical sciences.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s pathology lab also is expanding onto a floor in the new building.