UF researchers have a key role in Burnham Institute’s Florida location

<p>GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Diabetes, aging, genetics and cancer are the areas in which University of Florida researchers are most likely to work with their colleagues at the new Florida location of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.</p>

<p>Gov. Jeb Bush and Burnham president and CEO Dr. John Reed announced at a news conference in Tallahassee today that Burnham’s new institute will be located in Orlando. The announcement culminates several months of work to bring Burnham to Florida, and UF played an instrumental role in that process.</p>

<p>Though many of the details remain to be worked out, the collaboration is expected to include the construction of a joint UF-Burnham research facility on the property that Burnham will occupy, UF President Bernie Machen said. The building likely will be about 50,000 square feet, he said. In addition, some researchers will receive joint appointments at UF and Burnham.</p>

<p>One prominent UF researcher said the new institute will be a boon for both UF and La Jolla, Calif.-based Burnham.</p>

<p>“UF has an international reputation in type 1 diabetes research in terms of its ability to advance laboratory-based activities into patient care. Burnham investigators are equally well-known for their innovative ideas to cure this disease,” said Mark Atkinson, the Sebastian Family Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research at UF’s College of Medicine. “While no specific plans have been made, bringing the two programs together should result in major scientific benefits for those with diabetes.”</p>

<p>UF’s research enterprise is well-known and well regarded. The university announced on Tuesday that it topped the $500 million mark for research funding in 2006, receiving a record $518.8 million. That was a 5 percent increase over the $494 million received in the previous year, thanks in large part to a $13.4 million increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health. UF’s Institute on Aging received two of the largest NIH awards in 2005-06.</p>

<p>The university’s endeavors in genetics have gained significant recognition as well.</p>

<p>“We’re doing some extraordinary work in gene therapy, plant genetics and bioinformatics, not to mention adult stem cell research,” said Ken Berns, director of UF’s Genetics Institute and a distinguished professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.</p>

<p>UF and Burnham officials said they’re looking forward to the venture.</p>

<p>“We are enormously excited about developing robust collaborations with Florida’s strong academic institutions,” Reed said. “One of the attractions for our organization in expanding operations to Florida was the tremendous support and encouragement we received from Florida’s universities. From the very beginning, Dr. Machen and the University of Florida were there with us, planning a collaborative partnership involving co-location with our organization. We anticipate a synergistic effect on our existing and future research as a result of the opportunities for collaborative research with University of Florida.”</p>

<p>Said Machen: “This is a tremendous accomplishment and opportunity not only for the state of Florida but also for the University of Florida. We’re eager to get started on working with Burnham on the research that will benefit so many people.”</p>

<p>Win Phillips, UF’s vice president for research, said both parties bring great assets to the project.</p>

<p>“The University of Florida has great strengths in areas of interest to Burnham,” Phillips said. “As they grow, we will partner with them on an equal basis.”</p>

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