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Research. Collaboration. Entrepreneurship.
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June 2012

NCRC momentUM


NCRC-HeadsAug10(054)Welcome to the June issue of NCRC momentUM. We are excited about the opening of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at NCRC, and welcome the first group to move in - 75 researchers from the division of General Medicine from the U-M Medical School. I invite you to learn how innovative space planning was employed at IHPI to strengthen collaborative research. We are equally excited about Dr. Max Wicha and his lab moving to NCRC, as part of the Translational Oncology program. A quick look at the volume of research support services provides an indication of the increasing research activity levels.

As always, I welcome your feedback.

David Canter, Executive Director, NCRC

First Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation Members Move to NCRC

New institute an exciting addition to research at NCRC

IHPI LogoAbout 75 members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI) moved into newly renovated space at NCRC this month. Moves of additional IHPI researchers into its new headquarters at NCRC will continue approximately every two weeks throughout the summer and fall.

The IHPI mission is to enhance the health and well-being of local, national and global populations through innovative, interdisciplinary health services research that informs public and private efforts to optimize the quality, safety, equity and affordability of healthcare services. IHPI is expected to become the largest academic-based collection of health services and healthcare policy researchers in the country. A search for a director for the institute is underway.

Key to the strategy and mission of NCRC is the ability to bring U-M experts together in a shared space where they can work alongside their colleagues, collaborating on new ideas that will help people get well and stay well. IHPI represents an incredible opportunity to bring the University’s gifted scholars together, creating an inter-disciplinary institute with a global reach. The opening of a new home for IHPI in a dedicated building at NCRC comes on the third anniversary of U-M’s purchase of the former Pfizer site.

By bringing people together in close proximity to one another, IHPI researchers expect they can accelerate their studies on how healthcare is delivered today, and their tests of innovations that could improve healthcare, health insurance and health policy of tomorrow. Saint_2009

“Moving to NCRC has the potential to be transformative. Our patient safety program will now be surrounded by high-caliber and multidisciplinary health services researchers who are committed to turning ideas into action,” said Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, Professor of Internal Medicine, U-M Medical School, and Associate Chief of Medicine, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

More than 400 more IHPI members will move to NCRC in coming months. Just over half of IHPI members are U-M Medical School faculty. Nearly one quarter of members are from the U-M School of Public Health. Others come from U-M’s Engineering, Pharmacy, Business, Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Policy schools, and others. There are many members from partner organizations as well. Learn more about IHPI at their website.

Translational Oncology Establishes Presence at NCRC

Dr. Max Wicha and researchers move their labs

In May 2012 the NCRC welcomed Dr. Wicha’s Experimental Breast Cancer Research Laboratories and forty of his researchers to the third floors of buildings 26 and 20W.

DSC00582Dr. Wicha is the founding and present Director of the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMCCC), a position he has held continuously for 25 years. Under his leadership, the UMCCC established itself as a world-renowned center of cancer care.

drwicha (high resolution)Dr. Wicha has been a pioneering force in cancer stem cell (CSC) biology. His group was the first to identify breast CSCs. Subsequently, his laboratory identified robust markers and developed widely adopted cellular and xenograft models to isolate and characterize CSCs. Recently, he has focused on translating his pre-clinical research into the development of clinical trials designed to target breast CSCs. With the formation of the Translational Oncology Program (TOP), Dr. Wicha has engaged the interest of the best and brightest CSC researchers to the NCRC. In his words, “ In many ways, the NCRC embodies the very best of Michigan and epitomizes what sets our institution apart – our ability to focus the efforts of the top minds in diverse fields to find answers to society’s greatest challenges.” The TOP seeks to drive innovative cancer therapies and is uniquely qualified with numerous leading laboratories in CSC research. TOP investigators are presently exploring cancers of the breast, lung, pancreas, head and neck, colon, prostate and thyroid. By working together and sharing the ample scientific resources of the NCRC, TOP scientists can make progress more rapidly than would be possible by working alone. It is hoped this collaborative approach will revolutionize cancer treatments by targeting and destroying the cells responsible for disease recurrence and metastasis.

Innovative Use of Space Design Concepts at IHPI

Deliberate space planning and design to enable collaborative research

In the meticulous planning that went into renovating the NCRC building where IHPI is now located, space has truly been used as a tool to enable and nurture collaborative research opportunities. The planning and design philosophy for the facility places a direct emphasis on promoting interdisciplinary research and collaboration amongst the various groups and individuals in several ways. B16 012

• Open office zones at the north and south ends on each level and private/enclosed spaces located in the center core of the building.
• Non-dedicated work spaces such as ‘hoteling’ offices, quiet rooms and open workstations to address more flexible and mobile working needs.
• Embedded throughout the facility are formal and informal collaboration spaces that encourage opportunities for information sharing.
• Cutting edge technology concepts are leveraged throughout the facility and with the furniture to further capture opportunities for formal and informal interaction.B16 007

According to Todd Ciesielski, Senior Project Manager at U-M AEC - Architecture and Engineering, and the project lead for the building renovation, "The combination of commitment of stakeholders from inception through post-occupancy, along with the implementation of forward-thinking design principles has led to the success of the project."
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The excitement about the possibilities of spontaneous collaborations is echoed by the IHPI staff as well. “The advantage of having so many faculty researchers a supportive research and administrative staff in one location is already obvious; people who previously only communicated via email or telephone are now bumping into each other in the hallway,” said Dana Burkley, Administrative Manager, Department of Internal Medicine, U-M Medical School. “It’s very exciting to watch these interactions unfold.”

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As an indication of the increase in the volume of lab-based and other research activity at NCRC in the last six months, the following are some facts surrounding research support services. All of the indicators point to robust research activity at NCRC, with the expectation of steady growth going forward.

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Pat Holden
Tel: 734.936.3387

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