ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are announcing a strategic alliance designed to promote a broad spectrum of collaborative research, development of new technologies and clinical tools, and design and implementation of novel education programs. Both parties recently signed an agreement establishing the formal relationship.
This Mayo Clinic-Illinois strategic alliance provides a framework for broad cooperation in individualized medicine by integrating efforts in three areas: 1) basic, translational and clinical research; 2) bioengineering, especially for point-of-care diagnostics; and 3) development of tools and methods in computational biology and medicine.
“We are utterly delighted to be working with Illinois. We have worked diligently over the past eighteen months to get to this point,” says Franklyn Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. “What now emerges is a plan that builds on complementary capabilities of the two institutions in science and medicine honed and strengthened by the similarities in our midwestern cultures and values.”
“The University of Illinois has well-recognized capabilities in basic and computational sciences, genomics, bioengineering and technology generally,” said Lawrence Schook, the U. of I. Gutgsell Professor of Animal Sciences and the director of the division of biomedical sciences. “When combined with Mayo’s outstanding capabilities across the spectrum of biomedical research and clinical practice, this yields an alliance with enormous potential to transform medicine.”
Initial areas of scientific focus for the Alliance will include projects in genomics, the microbiome, bioinformatics and other computational science including the use of petascale computing, imaging, nanotechnology and tissue engineering. Several joint scientific projects are already ongoing and several more are being planned. The number of collaborative projects is expected to grow even faster in response to the announcement of a request for applications for a planning grant for joint programs.
Planning is underway for bilateral educational programs in bioengineering, computational medicine nanotechnology, genomics innovation and entrepreneurism. The Alliance intends eventually also to co-sponsor a variety of symposia and seminars, the first of which was held earlier this spring.
The Alliance expects to be sustained long term by funding from federal grants and philanthropy and from a variety of entrepreneurial projects involving commercialization of collaboratively generated intellectual property and agreements with corporate partners.
A steering committee is being formed to oversee the Alliance. All projects will require joint collaboration.