MICHIGAN’S UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CORRIDOR CONDUCTS $1.2 BILLION IN LIFE, MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES
GROWING SECTOR EMPLOYED 533,000 MICHIGANDERS IN 2015, REPRESENTING ONE IN EIGHT JOBS IN THE STATE
LANSING, Mich. (June 1, 2017) – Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) conducted $1.2 billion in research and development in the health sciences and has proved to be a key source of talent, deliverer of care and economic driver in Michigan, according to a new report released today.
The URC, comprised of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, worked with Lansing, Mich.-based Public Sector Consultants to create, “Leading Discovery: URC Contributions to the Life, Medical and Health Sciences.” The report discusses the importance of the life, medical and health sciences to Michigan, and the direct impact URC research and discoveries have on people’s lives.
The sciences make up an important and stabilizing part of Michigan’s economy, being one of the only sectors that grew during Michigan’s long economic downturn of the 2000s. The URC universities continue to push the boundaries of possibility in these critically important science sectors, striving to find cures for debilitating diseases; developing new pharmaceuticals; leveraging new technologies to develop innovative treatments; increasing the security of the food supply; and ultimately, improving the health and quality of life for people in Michigan and across the globe.
MSU is recognized for development of Cisplatin, one of the first, widely prescribed and highly effective cancer drugs that has helped lower the rates of death from several cancers; U-M played an important role in the development of the polio vaccine; and, in 1952, WSU had the first doctor to successfully use a mechanical heart pump on a patient during surgery.
“The URC is a national power and an important source of talent when it comes to the life, medical and health sciences,” said URC Executive Director Jeff Mason. “There are few places in the world able to conduct the types of research that occur at our institutions, and we are proud to support the continuation of such groundbreaking and historically important studies.”
The URC has a deep connection with these fields as a leading research cluster, key source of talent, deliverer of care and economic driver. While Michigan’s economy is still recovering from the sharp employment declines that occurred in the 2000s—a decline that the life, medical and health sciences did not experience—employment in the sciences is up 18.9 percent, compared to 2000 levels. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, the sector added 21,000 jobs.
The report also found the three universities are responsible for 95 percent of all academic R&D in Michigan within the life, medical and health sciences. Furthermore, the URC research dollars that support much of the state’s cutting-edge research is converting into commercialization success. From 2012 to 2016 within the sciences, the URC had 1,348 inventions reported by researchers; 380 U.S. patents issued; 433 new license agreements; 32 new startup companies, which accounted for 40 percent of all URC institution startups; and $142 million in royalties earned, over 80 percent of all royalty income earned.
Additionally, the URC ranks first in degrees awarded in the life, medical and health sciences’ field—with 44,422 graduates from 2011-2015—against seven other leading university clusters in Northern California, Southern California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. The URC additionally ranks first among these university clusters in the number of bachelor’s, master’s and medical doctor degrees awarded in the sciences.
“The URC is responsible for the state’s competitiveness and talent produced in the sciences and trains the researchers that make Michigan attractive to employers, investors and federal agencies supporting the sector,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel. “U-M is proud to be a part of the URC and to have the opportunity to work closely with WSU and MSU to remain at the forefront of discovery, innovation and care in the life, medical and health sciences.”
The diversity of what the URC universities offer in terms of research, medical training and the delivery of care has a profound impact on the state, as well as the world. Researchers at WSU’s Integrative Biosciences Center study environmental sciences, heart disease, obesity and other health ailments that plague Detroiters; MSU College of Human Medicine—one of the nation’s first community-based medical schools—played a crucial role in detecting elevated levels of lead in Flint’s children; and U-M’s C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital provides specialized healthcare not offered elsewhere in the state to newborns, children and pregnant women.
“Wayne State University’s location in the heart of Detroit attracts students from across the nation for a variety of reasons, including a desire to help address health disparities among diverse populations,” said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. “We are honored to be recognized as a national leader in health disparities research and remain committed to partnering with our fellow URC institutions to improve the human condition.”
URC research has led to cures that have saved countless lives. As science advances, the future for research in the life, medical and health sciences will include tackling challenges related to aging, cancer, genetic disorders, health disparities and food supply safety.
“Every day MSU researchers and health care professionals strive to tackle those big challenges, which require diverse perspectives and expertise, harnessed through partnerships and collaborations,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “It’s a privilege to collaborate with the URC universities to ensure we are making a significant difference within the sciences locally and globally.”
Timeline of Select URC Milestones in the Life, Medical, and Health Sciences
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY | Joseph Ferguson, M.D., becomes the first African-American graduate of the Detroit Medical College, established in 1868. He is the first African-American in Detroit (and most likely in Michigan) to earn a medical degree. He also was instrumental in the Underground Railroad and in the movement to integrate Detroit’s public schools.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN | U-M professor Moses Gomberg synthesizes the compound tetraphenylmethane, which includes an “organic free radical” – a highly reactive collection of atoms. In doing so, Gomberg becomes the founder of radical chemistry, central to the understanding of everything from polymerization to atmospheric reactions.
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY | MSU dairy industry pioneer G. Malcolm Trout links the processes of pasteurization and homogenization, helping to make homogenized mile feasible. Building on the work of two legendary Frenchmen – Louis Pasteur, who discovered in 1864 that heating kills most bacteria in liquids such as wine, beer or milk; and Auguste Gaulin, who patented a ‘homogenizing’ machine that emulsified milk in 1899 – Trout found that homogenized milk needed to be pasteurized first in order to have an appealing taste.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN | U-M scientists Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering began testing a new vaccine for pertussis, or whooping cough. The vaccine worked, all but ending the scourge of whooping cough deaths. They later combined shots of diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus into the single DPT shot children routinely receive today.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY | Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D., graduates from Wayne University College of Medicine, the school’s first African-American female graduate. She also became the first African-American female resident and chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY | WSU’s Dr. Forest Dewey Dodrill is the first to use a mechanical heart to operate on a patient. The historic operation re-routes blood around the heart, allowing the surgeon to repair a damaged valve. The concept and practice are now standard worldwide and used for more than 1 million patients annually.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN | U-M professor Thomas Francis Jr. concludes the two-year national field trials of the Salk polio vaccine, and on April 12, 1955, announces to the world that the vaccine developed by his former student Jonas Salk is “safe, effective, and potent.”
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN | U-M’s School of Public Health launches the Tecumseh (Michigan) Community Health Study, a longitudinal epidemiological study that transforms scientific understanding of chronic diseases and tests the concept of herd immunity.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY | WSU School of Medicine researcher Dr. Morris Goodman discovers chimpanzees and gorillas are genetically more closely related to humans than to other apes. His research, based on molecular evidence, has since been generally accepted, including a later discovery from DNA sequences that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related to each other than either is to gorillas or other apes.
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY | In response to an unprecedented number of cattle deaths on farms throughout Michigan and to assist the state in the management of PBBs, MSU establishes the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, or what is known today as the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY | WSU researcher Dr. Jerome Horowitz develops the first FDA-approved drug to treat AIDS patients. The discovery of using AZT to treat AIDS gives hope to millions of patients and their families. AZT is still used today to treat AIDS.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN | Under the direction of professor MaryFran Sowers, the U-M School of Public Health becomes a site for the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multisite longitudinal epidemiological study designed to examine the health of women during their middle years. Sowers’ groundbreaking research in this and other studies helps transform women’s health into a major discipline.
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