By Wendy Sarubbi | June 20, 2014 8:52 am

The scope of research being performed at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences is expanding, thanks to a new partnership between the UCF College of Medicine and the Nemours Children’s Hospital.

The 5th floor of the Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building in Lake Nona’s Medical City is now home to the Nemours Research Institute. The A 3,500- square-foot facility houses labs, conference rooms and office space for more than a dozen researchers and support staff from Nemours. “In large measure, it’s a terrific illustration of the collaborative spirit that exists here in Medical City,” Nemours Director of Research Operations Cyril Doucet told visitors at the Institute’s June 18 open house.

The Nemours team is conducting research on a variety of topics, including pediatric diabetes, cystic fibrosis, neuromuscular disorders and oncology. “Research is a significant component to our mission, it drives our patient care and excellence,” Said Nemours CEO Roger Oxendale.  “It’s exciting to see the growth of the Nemours team here at the College of Medicine.”

For Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, the College of Medicine’s interim associate dean for research, the Nemours partnership brings exciting new collaborative opportunities right to his front door. “We hope to widen the scope of our research to a larger population,” he said. “When we work together with our neighbors in Medical City, we can find ways to improve patient care, which is our common mission.” Because  childhood diseases can be the harbingers of future medical problems, Dr. Parthasarathy said working with Nemours clinicians and scientists can be a gateway to creating research in preventative medicine.

As competition for research funding becomes tougher, more funding agencies are seeking to support multidisciplinary projects with a clear path from laboratory benchside to patient bedside. Dr. Parthasarathy hopes the College of Medicine-Nemours research partnership can provide some of those projects.  “It’s so rare to find a partnership like this one,” said Health Sciences Campus Operations Director Barbara O’Hara, who helped create the new lab location. “The Nemours and UCF College of Medicine missions are so closely aligned, which provides great opportunities for collaboration.”

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