Friday, April 27, 2007

Saving The Human Race Under The Palms

Florida lawmakers are proposing to give the University of Miami an unprecedented $80 million gift to help establish a genetics research institute "that will target cures for common diseases and spur economic growth" according to the Miami Herald. Founded in January 2007 thanks to a $100 million gift from the estate of Leonard Miller, founder of the Lennar Corp, the Miami Institute for Human Genomics will focus on diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and more. With the state's help, it will create in south Florida a "bio-technology powerhouse," high paying jobs, and spin off companies. Headed by Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt, former chairman of Duke University's respected department of medicine, the new Institute expects to create 75 high paying jobs within months and another 300 over the next five years. The Institute will partner with other universities and Scripps Florida, the huge California based research center lured to Palm Beach County last year.

MVB finds this all very exciting. Aside from helping ALL MANKIND, it will be a major boost to our local economy and help sell some of those condos now being built all around downtown Miami.

We also think it was interesting to discover that one reason Miami was chosen (aside from the fact that Dr. Goldschmidt's departure from Duke, -- thanks to UM pres Donna Shalala's recruitment efforts-- also brought 20 staffers and approximately $70 million in research grants with them, basically sabotaging those programs) was because of our "access to multiple population groups without having to go anywhere else." It seems there isn't enough diversity up there in Durham, North Carolina to do proper studies. Well, welcome to Miami, docs, our "multiple population groups" is one of the things that makes us great.

UpDate (4/30): We learn today from the Herald that part of the stratagey in recruiting the top research scientists to Miami is that UM will pay a "50 percent match up to $300,000 for housing, becoming part-owners of the houses purchased and getting that percentage back from future sale prices." Smart.

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