FROM READERS: Collaborative research at MU leads to scientific discovery

Friday, August 23, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Nathan Bivens is the associate director at the MU DNA Core Facility. Bivens works with the implementation and support of next generation sequencing technologies at MU.

The opportunity to play a role in research conducted at the University of Missouri has provided me with a fulfilling experience for the last 12 years as I work closely with MU researchers across campus.

It was with uncertainty of the future that I began my studies in biology as an MU freshman; now more years ago than I would like to confess. How could any of us at the time predict the advances in genomic research that has lead to the exciting discoveries that improve our health and lives daily? MU research today focuses on development of therapies that target genetic diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, as well as, many other deadly conditions.

Many of the scientific discoveries at MU are being realized through translational research that has a focus on multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers with varied research interests and different scientific fields. It is this multidisciplinary approach that seeks to accelerate the transfer of ideas and discoveries in the basic research lab to applied knowledge in medicine and other areas

Along with collaborative research, the University of Missouri continues to build resources in the form of research core facilities and centers across campus to acquire and expand cutting-edge technologies.

The work of two individual researchers performing translational research is to be highlighted at the upcoming Research Core Facility Day on September 12, being held at the Bond Life Sciences Center. Both investigators use a multidisciplinary approach, as well as many of the technologies provided by research facilities and centers, to move findings from basic research in the lab to clinical trials and, ultimately, everyday applied knowledge.

University of Missouri’s Dr. Stefan Sarafianos will be presenting “Chinks in the armor of killer viruses.” (A schedule of events is here.) Dr. Sarafianos uses translational research toward drug development that target viral infections, such as HIV and Hepatitis B. The rapid transfer of knowledge from the lab to the clinic is essential to combat evolving viruses.

The second speaker, Dr. Matthew Wheeler from the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is presenting "Strategies for Regenerating Bone: Stem Cells, Scaffolds, Growth Factors and Patients." His regenerative research uses a porcine model to develop bone regeneration therapies to help patients of traumatic injury or soldiers with combat injuries.

Both researchers are excellent examples of the promising developments that are coming from translational research.

To learn more about Research Core Facility and Research Centers at MU, go to the Research Core Facilities Day website.

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