Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was on hand to officially dedicate the Cell and Genome Sciences Building at the University of Connecticut Health Center on Monday, Feb. 14. Equipped with the latest technologies, the nearly 120,000 square-foot research facility has united University scientists in accelerating discoveries that ultimately could lead to novel therapies treating a broad range of diseases.
The building was designed specifically to encourage collaboration among the more than 100 scientists housed there who are engaged in high-tech research across a diverse array of disciplines, from cell biology, chemistry, and genetics to physics, mathematics, and computer science. Now with greater opportunity to work together more closely, the scientists are bringing together their specialized fields of expertise to enhance Connecticut’s role as a leader in stem cell research.
“What’s occurring here is exactly the type of prudent, strategic, and beneficial investment Connecticut needs,” said Gov. Malloy. “Stem cell research is a prudent investment because it applies our limited resources in an area that promises significant returns on that investment in terms of bioscientific discoveries and economic growth. And it’s a beneficial investment that will improve the health of the people of our state and our nation, while simultaneously supporting existing Connecticut companies, creating new companies, and increasing high quality jobs in Connecticut.”
UConn President Philip E. Austin said, “Because of the state’s action in 2005 to commit funding to stem cell research and training programs with $100 million over 10 years, Connecticut has been put on the map as a place where innovative and groundbreaking research in stem cells is being conducted. We are already making strides unlocking the power of stem cells that will lead directly to therapeutic advances in so many areas.”
The facility houses the UConn Stem Cell Core Lab, the R.D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, and the Technology Incubation Program that is assisting in the commercialization of UConn research and providing incubator space for start up businesses.
“I am very confident that the work that is already in progress here in the Cell and Genome Sciences Building will lead to a vast number of tomorrow’s advances,” said Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine. “Thanks to wise state investments, we have created the perfect environment for learning and collaborating.”
Marc Lalande, associate dean of research planning and coordination, said, “Our goal is to maximize the state’s investment in stem cell research by establishing an infrastructure to support scientists in their quest of turning discoveries at the bench into therapies for diseases such as autism and cancer, and to advance the field of regenerative medicine. Having these programs in the same building along with researchers applying a broad range of cutting-edge approaches is intended to speed up cell research significantly at UConn.”
U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, state legislative leaders, and researchers from Yale and Wesleyan universities were among those attending the dedication.