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Governor Jeb Bush and FAU Launch Center of Excellence

Florida Atlantic University welcomed Governor Jeb Bush as he and FAU President Frank T. Brogan formally launched the Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology at FAU's SeaTech campus on September 23. Funding for this Center was awarded earlier this year by the state's Emerging Technology Commission (ETC) and will be used to develop a world-class research center.

The Center of Excellence will combine the scientific expertise of several academic institutions, including lead institution FAU, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, the Smithsonian Marine station and other biotechnological industries in South Florida.

"The biomedical technology industry is one of the most viable, rapidly growing industry sectors in the world," said Governor Bush. "The aim of the state grant for the Center of Excellence is to make a significant impact in stimulating the Florida economy and training a highly skilled workforce that will help build Florida's future."

The recommendation to fund this Center was made in February by the ETC, a group of leaders in the technology field appointed by Governor Bush to identify cutting-edge research initiatives in Florida.

FAU's proposal was one of three selected by the ETC for $10 million in funding, out of a total of 18 proposals from universities throughout the state. The funds will allow FAU's Center to propel the discovery, development and commercialization of new medicines and other bioproducts by utilizing unique marine resources along with cutting-edge technology aimed at combating diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and aging-related illnesses.

"These potential discoveries are of great significance, especially to Florida's aging population," said FAU President Brogan. "As we aggressively pursue the search for new drugs, the Center will also benefit our students through stronger academic programs and support of world-class research facilities."

The Center combines the expertise of marine biotechnology groups, pharmacologists and functional genomics researchers at FAU and its partner institutions. "This grant will enable our biomedical faculty and graduate students to study organisms from the coastal waters of southeast Florida and the Caribbean, and to work with researchers in other disciplines and at nearby institutions to develop a truly world-class research center," said Dr. Larry Lemanski, FAU's vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. "By bringing scientists, engineers and businesses together to concentrate on finding new drugs, today we are much closer to realizing the ocean's true potential to combat disease."