Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joined George Mason University (GMU) President Ángel Cabrera on Thursday to launch the university’s Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research, a multidisciplinary center that will pursue some of the toughest medical questions facing society.
The institute, in partnership with community hospitals, regional medical centers and other major research universities, will be a focal point for biomedical research and development. Researchers from across the university’s colleges will work together under one roof to find advanced diagnostics and treatments for cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses.
“Biomedical research and biotechnology play a vital role in improving the lives of our citizens and create opportunities that are vital for the new Virginia economy,” Governor McAuliffe said. “The institute will create jobs and drive economic growth. But more importantly, the work taking place at this institute will improve lives, cure disease and benefit us all.”
GMU is Virginia’s largest public research university and is dedicated to conducting research of consequence that can improve lives and drive economic prosperity. To highlight the university’s commitment, GMU is renaming its campus in Prince William County the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus.
“The public mission of this university is central to everything we do,” George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera said. “Along with educating students and pursuing research of great societal importance, we see ourselves as an economic and cultural engine in our region, and we are committed to creating partnerships that generate jobs, drive innovation and fuel economic growth.”
The nearly $40 million, 75,000-squre-foot research facility is dedicated solely to research of biomedical innovation that could lead to new businesses. It is designed to facilitate collaboration between research disciplines and to help translate research into clinical applications that have direct impact on patients. Current research at GMU’s Science and Technology Campus includes personalized medicine, proteomics, cancer treatments, Lyme disease, nanotechnology-based diagnostics, and infectious diseases. Researchers from GMU’s science, engineering, health, and education colleges will collaborate at the new institute.
Located outside the City of Manassas, George Mason Science and Technology Campus is the university anchor of Innovation Park, a 1,600-acre research and development public-private venture housing innovative companies in life sciences, information technology and other research-intensive sectors. The campus is 20 miles from Dulles International Airport and within 40 miles of the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration and numerous world-class hospitals.
Some research highlights at the Science and Technology Campus include:
- GMU’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine has pioneered applications of proteomics to treatments for patients with metastatic breast cancer who otherwise had few options.
- Technology created by GMU’s proteomics experts, Professors Lance Liotta and Emanual “Chip” Petricoin, is helping other biomedical fields develop faster diagnostic tools and discover new insights into disease.
- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and American Association for Cancer Research awarded Petricoin a $1 million grant to research pancreatic cancer.
- Last year, GMU partnered with Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in a first-of-its-kind alliance. GMU’s proteomics work complements TGen’s leading role in genomics, or DNA, research. Combined, proteomics and genomics delve into the underlying causes of disease and can pinpoint the best treatment for each patient.
- GMU researchers are leading the way in finding cures. A $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding HIV research that shows promise in finding a cure within the next few years.
- Researchers also are looking for answers in the natural world, from reptile blood to cranberries. Research supported by a $7.5 million Defense Threat Reduction Agency grant found sophisticated germ-fighters in alligator blood that could help wounded soldiers in the field fend off infection.