University of Missouri tops off precision health complex set for 2021 opening

Adorned with both Missouri and United States flags, the final beam of the NextGen Precision Health Institute was secured atop the building in a ceremony Thursday in Columbia.

The 265,000-square-foot facility, set to open in October 2021, will be open to researchers from across the University of Missouri System, as well as private partners. It is envisioned as a space for researchers to collaborate across disciplines and develop treatments specifically tailored to health care needs.

“We will have veterinary medicine working with the medical school, working with the orthopedic institute, working with clinical physicians, working with researchers from around the state,” said David Steelman, a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

The facility will feature a human and animal imaging facility, an electron microscope, a high-powered MRI and a PET scanner. The facility hopes to partner with the MU Research Reactor’s radiopharmaceutical researchers to conduct new studies.

The university has made partnerships with Siemens for the installation of the MRI, as well as the Thermo Fisher Center of Excellence for electron microscopy, which will provide the facility with advanced microscopic imaging technology.

The institute has announced that it will be creating a Center for Influenza and Virology, headed by Dr. Henry Wan. After the recent upheaval caused by COVID-19, the Board of Curators has high hopes for the future research to be conducted.

“We may come up with the cure or the treatment for the next pandemic before it occurs,” Steelman said, “just because of this opportunity.”

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