Congresswoman Esty Visits Health Center, Voices Strong Support for Research

During a recent visit to the UConn Health Center, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th) heard presentations about promising research initiatives to create targeted, personalized therapies for patients, toured incubator space for emerging technologies, and voiced her support for strong funding to continue to fuel basic and translational research.

Rita Zangari, left, executive director, Technology Partnerships and Licensing (TPL), leads a tour of incubator space at the Health Center with congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, right. (Sarah Turker/UConn Health Center Photo)

“Research is core to economic development and innovation throughout the world,” said Esty, who serves on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The 5th Congressional District includes Farmington and many surrounding towns.

In a roundtable discussion before the tour, Dr. Frank M. Torti, the Health Center’s executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine, spoke of the Health Center’s vision and newly defined goals.

“Our vision is to become a regionally and nationally prominent provider in a few well chosen areas of distinction and leverage our research strengths to pursue new treatments and cures for our patients – who are the focus of everything we do,” Torti added.

To illustrate the power of translational research, Anthony Vella, of the Department of Immunology, presented an overview about team approaches to understand the role of inflammation in triggering immune responses to serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Kevin Claffey, professor of cell biology, presented an overview of encouraging research that may ultimately help identify individualized, effective treatments for women with breast cancer.

In addition to the discussion and tour, Esty met with Dr. Stephen J. Lahey, chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Health Center, who is also involved with The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and participated in a tour of the construction projects on the Health Center’s campus associated with Bioscience Connecticut.

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