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Jackson Lab searching for location

The Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, Maine, has partnered with USF Health to further their search for cures for prominent diseases. Their first order of business: find a location to build a new research laboratory in Florida.

“We were looking around at the state universities, particularly those with research and medical programs that were compatible with ours,” said Michael Hyde, vice president for advancement for the Jackson Lab. “USF Health was at the top of our list.”

The partnership, which is the first the lab has ever established, came into fruition last summer after the lab was approached by the Commissioner of Economic Development of Collier County about expanding their research laboratories to Florida a year and a half ago.

“We are having discussions with people at USF about areas near the university and we have discussions going with various communities leaders in Sarasota,” Hyde said.

Anne Baier, director of USF Health communications, said the lab has expressed interest in areas such as Hillsborough, Collier and Sarasota counties.

“Jackson is leading the selection of the location and the funding for the project,” she said.

USF will be working primarily with genomic medicine, which tailors treatments to the genetic make-up of each individual patient, and will allow students to gain “cutting-edge” experience through the lab once it is constructed, Baier said.

“Jackson and USF will collaborate on a variety of bioinformatics, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular, neuroscience and other research and training initiatives that would advance personalized medicine,” she said. “The partnership’s expected to yield new discoveries and educational programs and to provide better health care and new economic opportunities for Floridians.”

Hyde said that Jackson Lab is a “world leader in genomics research” and that its expertise, coupled with USF Health’s medical credentials, will make a “formidable package.”