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Feature

Translational Research Facility, shown in this architect's rendering.

Ground was broken November 4 for the Translational Research Facility, shown in this architect's rendering.

The Translational Research Facility

Where collaboration leads to improved human health

From M, winter 2004

Heart disease, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, and even spinal cord injury--discovering cell-based therapies to treat or even cure these ailments is the goal of Catherine Verfaillie, director of the University's Stem Cell Institute. Verfaillie's research has received significant attention, so her name may be the best known among the University's stem cell researchers. But she does not work alone. Revealing the secrets of stem cells and harnessing their power takes the expertise of researchers in cell development, heart health, and neuroscience, among other fields. Verfaillie is one of 33 researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Pharmacy who await the 2005 opening of the Translational Research Facility (TRF). At its core, translational research is about taking new knowledge learned from basic science in cell biology, development biology, or genomics and studying how it can be used--or translated--to benefit the health of patients. It is part of the continuum of collaborative research that ends in clinical trials in which patients can receive new treatments. The recent gift from the William W. and Nadine M. McGuire Family Foundation for the TRF was essential to secure the new facility. The McGuire Foundation's $10 million funding triggered state bonding authority this year and ensured that the University could break ground on this much-needed research space. Looking ahead, private philanthropy will be even more important for University research facilities and perhaps even research projects. In the past, the University relied on the federal government for research support and was also able to use state funding for some research projects. In the last decade or so, however, the U has felt the effects of a national decline in state support for higher education.

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