Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research Grand Opening

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Gov. Jim Doyle at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research opening
MADISON – The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health took a big step toward its goal of uniting the twin siblings of research and patient care by opening the East Tower of the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) Wednesday.

Nestled between UW Hospital and Clinics and American Family Children's Hospital on the western edge of the University of Wisconsin campus, WIMR is a three-phase project that ultimately will consist of three towers.

The East Tower of WIMR is a seven-story, $185 million facility that seeks to foster collaboration between research scientists in their laboratories and clinicians who deliver patient care.

"Here there are no fences," said Dr. Robert Golden, who has been an ardent champion of the WIMR project in his two years as dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). "Scientists and physicians in these buildings will be able to translate discovery into better patient care at our neighboring UW Hospital and Clinics, including the beautiful American Family
Scientists at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Researcher

Scientists at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research

Children's Hospital, and then bring these discoveries immediately next door, down the block and throughout the entire state of Wisconsin. The path from bench to bedside to curbside, in the community, is clear and it is here."

Golden continued by pointing to WIMR as a logical and necessary element in the evolution of SMPH, currently the only institution in the United States that combines the disciplines of medicine and public health in one school.

"This is the key to the transformation of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health into the most advanced and integrated basic science, health science and population science program in the country," he said.
"The work done here will touch on every aspect of human disease. These three towers will set the stage for the evolution of our school into the national leader in research that dramatically improves the public's health."

In her first week on the job, recently appointed UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin echoed Dean Golden's theme of transformation.

"Today's celebration and the opening of this structure represent not an end but just a beginning," she said. "We will hold the keys to making great advances in human health. We're helping rewrite the paradigm of public health."

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's arrival was delayed by an early-morning tour of kindergarten classes for 4-year-olds in La Crosse and Eau Claire. He used that day's journey as a metaphor for the state's dedication to education and progress.

"From kindergarten to the dedication of this building demonstrates Wisconsin's incredible commitment to research and the advance of knowledge," he said. "Whether it's 15 kids sitting in a school room or the most advanced post-doc PhD doing the most far-reaching research, Wisconsin does support and will support those endeavors. We are at a building today that represents that commitment."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Governor Doyle preceded tours of the tower's fifth floor, devoted to orthopedics and regenerative medicine research, and the sixth floor's cancer research. There, scientists in white coats and goggles were already at work, searching for the discoveries to which Dean Golden and Governor Doyle alluded.

Susan Thibeault, PhD, CCC-SLP, an assistant professor in SMPH's Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, stepped away from her laptop and microscope briefly to talk about WIMR's emphasis on collaboration.

"None of us can solve a problem on our own," she said. "You have to rely on people not just in your discipline but other disciplines who are studying the same thing. You have to have multiple collaborators to get the work done. It's vital."

Work will soon begin on WIMR's second tower. The three-tower complex is expected to be completed by 2015 and will ultimately house approximately 1,500 researchers.

Date Published: 09/10/2008

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