Improving Human Health

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Dr. Stephen Dalton, the GRA Eminent Scholar of Molecular Cell Biology, is the founding director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Molecular Medicine.

The new, state-of-the-art building that houses the University’s Center for Molecular Medicine underscores this institution’s dramatic growth in research that seeks to improve human health and save lives.

The Center for Molecular Medicine was founded in 2012, and its mission is to better understand the molecular and cellular basis of human disease and to use this information to guide the development of new diagnostics, therapies and cures. Dr. Stephen Dalton, the GRA Eminent Scholar of Molecular Cell Biology, is the center’s founding director, and his research focuses on stem cells and tissue regeneration.

The new Center for Molecular Medicine building is a 43,000-square-foot facility that was funded by $17 million in state funds and $8 million in non-state funds. It was designed to foster collaboration with the University’s nearby Complex Carbohydrate Research Center as well as other centers, institutes and departments across campus.

This month’s dedication of the Center for Molecular Medicine comes at a time of rapid growth in externally funded research at UGA. Over the past three years alone, externally funded research expenditures at the University have grown an astounding 37 percent. This significant rise is the result of targeted investments in extraordinary faculty members and enhanced grant support services that have helped existing faculty members increase their productivity.

In addition to enabling discoveries that advance human health and a range of other fields, external research funding helps grow Georgia’s thriving life sciences industry. The University of Georgia has one of the nation’s best records of bringing faculty discoveries into the marketplace through licensing and startups. For the past three years, UGA has been ranked among the top five universities based on the number of research-based products it has commercialized. Examples of therapeutics developed at UGA include the hepatitis drug Clevudine, the enzyme therapy Kanuma and the dry eye treatment Restasis.

In addition, more than 150 companies have been launched based on UGA research. Recent startups include CyanVac, which is advancing a vaccine platform for the prevention of animal and human infectious diseases, and Lynkogen, which is developing therapies for diabetes. With state-of-the-art facilities and room for up to 10 teams of researchers, the Center for Molecular Medicine is poised to further advance the University’s growing research enterprise.