BOSTON – April 8, 2013 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced more than $9.35 million in grants to support life-sciences-related capital projects in the Greater Boston area, including $4 million for Boston Children’s Hospital and $5 million for Harvard Medical School to fund major lab renovation projects. The MLSC has also announced grants to Bunker Hill Community College, Quincy College and Regis College for projects related to life sciences training and education.
The MLSC has funded Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in the Greater Boston region through a variety of grants, including more than $500,000 that the Lieutenant Governor and the MLSC announced this past December for equipment and supply grants to vocational technical schools and public high schools in the area.
Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008.
“Our Administration is committed to investing in innovation across the state, and this grant funding is an example of doing so in partnership with institutions in the Greater Boston area,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “This funding is part of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s overall efforts to collaborate with academia and the business community to enhance research, workforce training and job creation in the life sciences.”
The $4 million grant awarded to Boston Children’s Hospital will help establish the Children’s Center for Cell Therapy (CCCT) and support new equipment and facility renovation that will allow additional cell culturing facilities and a robotics area designed to perform highly specialized chemical screening on stem cells. The CCCT will be a specialized center focused on developing novel stem cell therapies for untreatable or incurable diseases.
Leonard I. Zon, M.D., and George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., will lead the project at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We save lives, but all too often we can’t do enough. Losing one child’s life is too many,” said Zon, who directs the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children's. “The Center for Cell Therapy will take maximal advantage of exciting new developments in cell biology to translate basic science into cures. We are grateful to have the Commonwealth as our partner in this enterprise,” added Daley, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at the hospital.
With its $5 million grant, Harvard Medical School plans to create a Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology that will serve as a multidisciplinary scientific incubator with the goal of providing better clinical trial information in the drug development process. The lab aims to tackle an incredibly important problem in a new way by using multiple measurements such as proteomics and advanced imaging combined with extensive computational analyses and model building and testing to understand drug action. Visiting scientists from the FDA and local drug companies, together with investigators from Dana Farber, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts, MIT and Harvard, will be involved in this novel effort.
“With receipt of this generous grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Harvard is embarking on a bold experiment to rethink the science that guides the development, evaluation and use of new medicines,” said Peter Sorger, Director of the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. “We will gather together the best research scientists and clinicians from Harvard hospitals and sister institutions such as MIT and Tufts and apply advanced experimental and mathematical methods to better understand today's medicines and develop tomorrow's cures.”
“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to enable the creation of unique resources that are available to the Massachusetts life sciences community, and these innovate projects at Boston Children’s and Harvard Medical School are great examples of that,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “High schools, and colleges like Bunker Hill Community College, Quincy College and Regis play major roles in training the next generation of our state’s life sciences workforce, and they ensure that training for innovation economy jobs is inclusive and available all across the state. Our grants help ensure that these schools can provide students with first-rate training facilities.”
Additional grants made through the MLSC’s capital program were also announced today:
• Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) will receive $200,000 to support the expansion of its biotechnology program by expanding its laboratory capabilities and enriching its curriculum. “The equipment purchased with this generous grant will help us train more students for high-demand jobs in the expanding biotechnology industry in Greater Boston. Our goal is to help meet regional workforce needs while ensuring that our students will be competitive in this critical job market,” said BHCC President Mary L. Fifield.
• Regis College was awarded a $50,000 grant that will allow the college to develop an analysis of needed resources and their implementation in order to maintain Regis’ cutting edge education in the life sciences. “Regis College has a long history of excellence in educating students in the life sciences,” noted Regis President Antoinette M. Hays, Ph.D., RN. “Huge developments in the sciences and the growing vitality of life sciences and biotech in Boston’s professional marketplace demand that we continue that achievement for today’s students and future generations. We are thrilled and grateful to have received the planning grant that will help us shape the transformation we envision.”
• Quincy College was granted $100,000 to develop its new Certificate of Science program in Biotechnology and Compliance as well as purchasing new state-of-the-art equipment for biomanufacturing. “At Quincy College we are focused on teaching and learning one student at a time,” said Quincy College President Peter Tsaffaras. “The generous support of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, for which we are very grateful, will allow us to continue with our mission to produce well qualified graduates, ready to enter the workforce and contribute to scientific inquiry and their community.”
“As the Massachusetts innovation economy continues forward, we have to be vigilant in building our human resources from within the commonwealth. There are many talented students in our state schools and especially our community colleges,” State Senator Sal DiDomenico said. “I am extremely proud and thankful that students in my district who are interested in pursuing biotechnology and biomanufacturing jobs will have the chance to do so at Bunker Hill Community College and many other local institutions. A special thanks to Dr. Windham-Bannister and Lieutenant Governor Murray for opening up the doors of opportunity to obtain quality employment in an exciting and innovative field.”
“This is a great opportunity that comes at a great time for the City of Quincy,” said State Senator John Keenan. “With these funds, Quincy College will be giving students state-of-the-art training for new careers in biomanufacturing and biotechnology, just as other initiatives and redevelopment projects are opening the door for a range of new businesses to enter Quincy. This is yet another indication that this city is poised to thrive for many years to come.”
“I am pleased Bunker Hill Community College is the recipient of this capital grant, especially with so much competition for limited resources. The physical improvements allowed for will create a curriculum and experience that will prepare the students for the employment opportunities this region has and the requisite skills required,” stated State Representative Eugene L. O'Flaherty.
“This is an important investment in several critical resources in the Commonwealth: life sciences, technological innovation, and our workforce,” State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez said. “Anytime we can support the intersection of these areas is a win for the economy and a win for our workforce.”
As part of the MLSC’s workforce development strategy, in December 2012, Lieutenant Governor Murray and the MLSC announced a round of grants for vocational and technical high schools and public high schools in gateway cities, with the goal of furthering access to STEM education. High schools in Greater Boston received more than $500,000 towards the purchase of lab equipment and supplies. The five schools in the region, the city or town in which they are located, and the amount of their respective grants are as follows:
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.