Members of the media and communications officials representing government, academia, technology councils and economic development groups were in attendance yesterday as expert presenters brought them up to date on past and proposed bio developments in the state.
Their backgrounds and specialties were various, but one theme united the remarks of all 10 speakers: collaboration.
“It is a readily demonstrable fact that all of the illnesses that could be cured by one person with one technique and one lab have been done,” said Joseph Rogers, president and senior scientist at Sun Health Research Institute. “What remain are the really difficult disorders—like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer—that are going to take the combined resources, the combined intellect, and the combined facilities of many people working together—and working efficiently together.”
Collaboration, said the panelists, is the critical factor in overcoming the myriad challenges facing Arizona—or any state working toward building bioscience and biotech proficiency. It is the key to winning research dollars, to maximizing state resources and to addressing shortfalls.
It is also the mechanism by which the fruits of research reach the patients who need them, a process called translation.
Rogers also announced work underway to meet the needs of Arizona’s considerable aged population, a collaborative effort known as the Center for Neurologic Aging and Its Disorders.
In keeping with the mood, the executive directors of the Flinn Foundation and the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission announced a partnership for funding and coordinating Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the 10-year plan for growing the state’s bioscience and biotech economy.
Flinn’s John Murphy and ADCRC’s Dawn Schroeder outlined plans for ADCRC to match Flinn’s funding of Roadmap activities over the next two years. ADCRC’s work will focus on expanding clinical research programs, reducing barriers to collaboration, and related goals.
The workshop featured a presentation by Walt Plosila, vice president for public technology management at the Battelle Memorial Institute, which is providing research and facilitation for the Roadmap project. Former Phoenix mayor Skip Rimsa, chair of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, emceed the event.
The panel included scientists and economic developers who are co-chairing six Roadmap workgroups that are implementing the project’s recommendations: Eugene Gerner, professor in the cellular biology and anatomy program and biophysics program at the University of Arizona; Patrick Grady, director of the City of Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department; Bob Hagen, chair of the Southern Arizona Technology Council; Joseph Rogers, president and senior scientist at Sun Health Research Institute; Quinn Williams, attorney at law, Greenburg Traurig, LLP; and Stuart Williams, professor and chair of bioengineering at UA.
For more information:
“ Flinn to give progress report,” Arizona Republic, 03/18/2004
“UA, Phoenix, businesses join forces on bioindustry ,” Tucson Citizen, 03/19/2004