UM System precision medicine complex gets new name at groundbreaking

The University of Missouri System’s Translational Precision Medicine Complex got its official name — the NextGen Precision Health Institute — and had a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, and Missouri Sen. Caleb Rowden as well as the chancellors of all four UM System schools joined UM System leadership and university faculty at the ceremony.

The 275,000-square-foot complex on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia will serve researchers at all four system universities, as well as facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations with clinicians and industry partners.

“We will have the opportunity to expand our collaboration, not only among the four universities, but every single institution in this state to promote precision health,” UM System President Mun Choi said.

Officials envision the institute as an interactive environment that will bring together researchers that build the basic pieces of new medicines, researchers to test these medicines in living bodies, and researchers that translate these medicines into the clinic.

“In addition to supporting our researchers, this university, this building will be a critical hub for education, innovation, and entrepreneurship for our students,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “It will provide the … hands-on opportunities we need to develop the next generation of leaders in growing fields such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science.”

The $220 million institute could potentially accelerate medical breakthroughs not only for humans, but also for farm animals.

The state legislature has designated $10 million for the institute in its latest budget. The complex is projected to open for business in October 2021.

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