NDSU, Sanford to join in health researchFARGO – North Dakota State University will start up two new Centers of Research Excellence in the coming months, including a first-time partnership with Sanford Health.
FARGO – North Dakota State University will start up two new Centers of Research Excellence in the coming months, including a first-time partnership with Sanford Health.
Sanford’s research wing will invest about $1 million over four years into a new Center for Life Sciences Research and Applications in NDSU’s research park. It’s the first time Sanford has partnered with a university in such a way.
The center will initially focus on genomic breast cancer research – using patient genetics to develop personalized care – and research on rare childhood diseases. It is expected to employ about 42 people over the next four years.
The Pennsylvania-based RJ Lee Group, an industrial forensics supplier, will also have a presence in the center. It will work with the center and with NDSU researchers on new DNA testing methods.
Both of the centers research objectives dovetail with existing Sanford initiatives. The company announced last year a $100 million effort to find a cure for breast cancer, which claimed the life of the mother of company backer T. Denny Sanford when he was 4 years old.
The company also has a dedicated Children’s Health Research Center focusing on childhood diseases.
Gene Hoyme, president of Sanford Research, said the Center of Excellence partnership was a good fit for the company’s goals. He said NDSU’s expertise in processing and interpreting data will be useful because genetic research produces reams of information.
“You need lots of smart people who know how to take computerized information and translate it into something that is meaningful,” he said.
He said the company sees the center as the first step in a potential long-term relationship with NDSU in genomic research, a field he described as “one of our major focuses over the next decade.”
Phil Boudjouk, NDSU’s vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer, said he’d welcome that.
“We have been talking with Sanford for a couple years now about how to engage them,” he said. “We’re optimistic about this going to a good place.”
The second center will be a Center for Technologically Innovative Products and Processes, which will study reducing production costs and improving processes for industrial products.
Initial partners in that center include West Fargo-based Mid America Aviation, Fargo-based Amity Technology, and Pennsylvania-based Arkema, which makes industrial chemicals and vinyl products. Those three companies have committed $640,000 in contributions to the center.
The two centers will be the 10th and 11th at NDSU.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502