Vital Signs: November 2013

Vol. 2, Issue 4

A reason to be thankful

Dear friends and colleagues,

At this time of giving thanks, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine family. Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and friends make the college a vibrant and passionate place of learning, teaching, innovation, and service. I would also like to give a special thanks to those working in our hospitals over the holidays.

The college has had a great deal of forward momentum in recent years — from advances in research and clinical care, to new partnerships around the globe, to the opening of impressive new facilities. I look forward to continuing this momentum. Several times over the last few weeks, I have been asked about the status of the proposed translational medicine building.

The strategic role of this facility will be to promote transfer of discoveries made in the laboratory to clinical management of animal and human patients, consistent with a “bench-top to bedside” concept of translational research. By placing biomedical research in close proximity to clinical cases, we would advance development of cross-disciplinary and integrative research programs that employ animal models of disease.

A feasibility study, completed in September of this year, envisaged an 86,000-square -foot facility with an overall cost of $51 million. Conceptual site plans propose that the building be constructed as an extension of the teaching hospital, adjacent to the Infectious Disease Research Facility. In addition to new clinical service spaces, the building will contain research laboratory and conferencing spaces.

Three colleges, including the College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Science, and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been collaborating on this project, with the expectation that approximately half of the necessary funding would be provided by the commonwealth/university and the balance by the partners, though private donations and debt service.

I am pleased to confirm that all three college partners continue to prioritize this project as an excellent opportunity to develop comparative health sciences research. The College of Veterinary Medicine has already made a good start in raising private funds. Our next steps will be to review the budgetary aspects of the project and explore the possibility of broadening the partnership to include more health sciences programs. It is still too early to estimate what the timeline may be for project completion – I will keep you updated as the planning progresses.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving,
Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean

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