University of Georgia president Jere Morehead broke ground for the UGA Center for Molecular Medicine December 1 with Chancellor Henry Huckaby, faculty, and students.
The CMM has been in the works for the past four years and construction will officially take place March 2016. Once construction gets up and going next Spring, it will not take more than a year for the building to be up and running.
“It will allow us to recruit international quality researchers because of the new facility, which will be state of the art,” Dalton said.”It will bring opportunity to students to be trained in an intensive research environment, to prepare them for the workforce and careers in biomedical research. I think it has a number of massive positives in addition to attracting federal funding for research.”
Although many public grant universities do not have this first-class facility, UGA is one of the campuses that does. It is going to take basic research findings and convert them into therapies and cures.
Stephen Dalton is the founding director of the Center for Molecular Medicine; he was a huge part in developing the concept of the center. He laid out strategic direction of the center, defined the research goals and direction, and is currently working on hiring top-notch faculty to work within the center.
Dalton has already named two candidates, and one is a former member of Harvard Medical school. However, the international search for the finest faculty members is still in process.
Every single research program within the CMM will have a direct connection to human disease with a translational research emphasis that positively impacts human health. It will be the home to 10 research groups that have interests in stem cells and regenerative medicine and vaccine development and therapeutics.
“The Center for Molecular Medicine is all about understanding human disease – the molecular and cellular basis, and generating new therapies and diagnostic tools,” Dalton said. “My research is the stem cell area, it really ties with that nicely, so I think the new people we are going to hire will compliment my research interests and really strengthen UGA’s profile in the biomedical research area.”
John Avery works in Professor Dalton’s lab; he’s a fifth year PHD student who studies tissue engineering. According to Avery, the CMM is an outstanding addition to UGA’s campus because of what information it is combining for the better of the human body.
“It’s pretty much the amalgamation of research done at the bench that’s going to be translated at the bedside,” Avery said. “What that means is we’re able to take a lot of the initiatives and advancements that have at the benched that happen quite rapidly, but then to be able to translate that into treatment and therapeutics. This will hopefully lead to more increased initiatives.”