The Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced that over $100 million in grants are going for life sciences related capital projects in western Massachusetts. This includes $95 million for the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and $5.5 million for the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI), a joint venture of the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Amherst.
The MLSC grants for UMass Amherst will fund construction to equip a substantial portion of the university’s new $157 million life sciences laboratory. The building will house three new research centers to be led by faculty and dedicated to partnering with regional life sciences and precision manufacturing companies to develop innovative products and services.
One of the research centers will concentrate on personalized health monitoring that will develop nanotechnology and large dataset management to improve healthcare through low-cost, wearable, wireless sensors to analyze patient data continuously in real-time.
This research center will bring bio-sensor technology, nanotechnology, new polymer and manufacturing techniques, “big data”, and information technology together to design, develop, and test the next generation of wearable bio-sensors and healthy lifestyle applications. Biomanufacturing firms, medical device makers, big data analysts, and other healthcare industry partners will produce prototypes, do testing, and then assess manufacturing feasibility.
Another research center will focus on bioactive delivery which entails the discovery and application of new drugs, agricultural, and nutriceutical compounds. Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed synthetic molecules that can fight infection in new ways and design all natural formulations for delivering oil soluble vitamins and other nutrients in food products.
The third research center referred to as “Models to Medicine” will focus on translating basic protein research by UMass experts into new therapeutic targets. This center will capitalize on an explosion of discoveries over the past ten years that suggest a variety of protein dysfunctions play a role in Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s, cancer, and infectious diseases.
The funding for PVLSI will be used to strengthen the region’s leadership in bioinformatics by building on the $4.5 million grant that was recently awarded to the Massachusetts Green High Performance computing Center in Holyoke.
The funding for PVLSI located adjacent to Baystate Medical Center’s main campus in Springfield’s North End, will support the development of a new Center of Innovation in Health Informatics and Technology.
The Center will actively advance public and private sector partnerships and incubating innovative technology solutions developed by start-ups and larger, more established vendor firms in areas such as population health management, healthcare quality, “big data” analytics, and mobile health.
For more information, go to www.masslifesciences.com.