Governor McAuliffe Shows Continued Support of Biotechnology
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
As the new academic year starts, Governor Terry McAuliffe is continuing his promise to make biotechnology a top priority. While visiting the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, which houses close to 60 life-science companies, nonprofits, state and federal labs as well as Virginia Commonwealth University research institutes, he continued to stress the importance of biotechnology to Virginian’s economy. He was joined by Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent and Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, who is chairman of the biotechnology lab’s authority board and its innovation council.
“So many of our young students who are now graduating want to start a company, they are entrepreneurs, they’re innovators, they have lots of great ideas,” Rao said. “They do become reality with the help of the biotech park. We see ourselves as an innovation system.”
While visiting the park, McAuliffe was able to learn about new products being developed including a smartphone app that helps people find research studies, a probiotic beverage made of blue-green algae and a band of fabric pregnant women can wear to protect from electromagnetic radiation emitted from cellphones and computers.
After his visit to the biotech park, McAuliffe headed to Charlottesville where he visited Focused Ultrasound Foundation to meet the team of medical researchers developing technology to target and treat the brain.
“I want Virginia to be known as the brain state,” said McAuliffe.
“He's put in place the funding that's going to allow the infrastructure to recruit the brains - the people that are needed to create the laboratories and clinical treatment facilities,” said Dr. Neal Kassell, the chairman of Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
Seven million dollars in state funding helped start the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia. The center and foundation are working together in a public-private partnership to fund research and treatment.
This year's state budget invests another $4 million for new research at the center. That will allow studies into using focused ultrasound to treat Parkinson's disease, non-cancerous breast tumors, epilepsy, and the prostate.