The Jackson Laboratory, University of South Florida Announce New Partnership in Collier County

Published: Nov 05, 2013

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Naples, Fla. – Today The Jackson Laboratory announced that its first medical partner for the new research and education village in Collier County will be the University of South Florida, one of the nation’s fastest-growing biomedical research universities.

Jackson and USF will collaborate on a variety of initiatives to lead the nation toward personalized medicine, in which disease prevention and treatment are based on a person’s unique genetic makeup, or genome. The partnership will result in new research gains and education programs, as well as providing better health care and increased economic opportunities for the citizens of Collier County and Southwest Florida.

“Jackson is an ideal partner for USF,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, which consists of USF’s Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health.

“The Laboratory’s longstanding expertise in mammalian genetics and its cutting-edge genomics research are known around the world,” Dr. Klasko said. “We want to give our students and residents an education that will help them become leaders in the new era of genomics-based personalized medicine. The possibilities for collaboration are limited only by our own imaginations.”

In turn, USF Health’s strong research environment and academic entrepreneurial model will be assets for Jackson, said Charles E. Hewett, PhD, Jackson’s vice president and chief operating officer.

“USF Health looks toward the future of health care,” Dr. Hewett said. “Whether it’s researching the secrets of deadly diseases; helping doctors join the electronic age or teaching surgeons how to use high-tech robots, USF Health keeps pushing the boundaries of medicine forward. As we build our partnership, that forward-thinking philosophy will help us deliver on the promise of personalized medicine.”

That promise comes with the power to transform how medicine is delivered today. Imagine a future in which a diagnosis comes with a specialized prescription: a reading of a patient’s genome, and recommendations for how to target medicines and other therapies for a particular individual. Treatments will be more effective and side effects diminished. That’s what Jackson and USF will hope to deliver.

“For physicians and patients to make knowledgeable decisions in the era of personalized medicine, they must be able to access and understand the complex genetic basis of health, disease and medicine,” Dr. Klasko said. “Working together, The Jackson Laboratory and USF have the expertise, experience, leadership and medical and scientific connections to be the definitive source of information on the role of genomics in human health and disease.”

Jackson and USF plan to collaborate in three key areas: research, education and clinical care.

Research. Jackson and USF researchers will collaborate on work in such endeavors as computational biology and bioinformatics; cancer; Alzheimer’s disease and the neurosciences; metabolic diseases; and a host of other diseases. Researchers and clinicians will work together to bring the latest discoveries into clinical practice, with an emphasis on new medicine that is tailored to respond to the individual.

Education. Advancing technologies demand a different kind of education for the next generation of healthcare professionals. USF Health and Jackson are leaders in medical and scientific education. The partnership will lead the way in educating students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and emerging health professions in the areas of personalized health, pharmacogenomics, and bioinformatics. The partnership also expects to develop continuing medical education programs to help teach doctors and other practicing health professionals about these new areas of medicine.

Clinical care. Jackson and USF Health will team with other health care organizations to develop a clinical campus that will provide the latest in cutting-edge personalized medicine and health care to patients from Collier County and beyond. USF already is creating new models to help patients with chronic conditions live optimistically. The partnership will be ideally positioned to provide personalized medicine across a continuum of care, from home therapies to outpatient and inpatient services.

Those initiatives will further increase the economic impact of the research and education village planned for eastern Collier County. An economic analysis performed by the Washington Economic Group predicts that within 10 years, the research and education village will generate 7,500 jobs and $500 million in annual economic activity in cumulative economic impact in Collier County – and even more across the southwestern Florida region. The partnership with USF Health will accelerate these economic benefits.

“Collier County’s vision of building a biomedical cluster, and its determination to become a key player in the biomedical revolution are very powerful incentives for USF Health to act now,” said Dr. Klasko.

Noting that Edison State College has already committed to creating a charter high school in the research and education village, Dr. Hewett said “There will be many more announcements like this one. We look forward to welcoming scientific, educational and medical partners from around the world. We will also see a growing number of commercial ventures locating here.”

“This is a great day for the citizens of Collier County and southwest Florida as well as for us,” Dr. Hewett said. “Together, we will transform the economy of this region, and help southwest Floridians lead longer, healthier lives.”

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif. The Laboratory was founded in 1929 and it employs about 1300 people. Known internationally for its leadership in mammalian genetics, its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human diseases, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community. Its 38 research teams study the genetic basis of cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, diabetes and many other diseases and disorders, as well as how genes affect normal development, reproduction, and aging.

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing, and public health; the schools of biomedical sciences, pharmacy, and physical therapy & rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group. With more than $380.4 million in research grants and contracts last year, the University of South Florida is one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community-engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Watch video Watch the press conference (52:00)

Contact(s): Joyce Peterson, The Jackson Laboratory, 207-288-6058

Lisa Greene, University of South Florida, 813.974.4312

For information on automatic email delivery of news releases (journalists only), please send an email request for details to Please address other inquiries to

Media Relations, Communications Office

The Jackson Laboratory

600 Main Street

Bar Harbor, Maine 04609-1500

Phone: 207-288-6058 (journalists only)

Main Jackson Laboratory phone: 207-288-6000

Fax: 207-288-6076


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