Ben Franklin Technology Center Helps Establish Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research at Delaware Valley College
As a result of an innovative partnership with Delaware Valley College (DVC) of Agriculture and Science in Doylestown, PA, Jefferson has extended its research capabilities to rural Bucks County, creating the Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research and Agricultural Medicine on the DVC campus.
From 20 to 30 full-time scientists, staff and students will work at the center, which will include a greenhouse laboratory in a new, 28,000-square-foot building on the DVC campus.
Center Director is Timothy M. Block, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Jefferson Medical College (JMC), and a researcher in Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center.
New Concept in Academic Research
"In the research community, the Jefferson Center is seen as a complement between the urban biomedical research-oriented graduate school and the predominantly undergraduate agricultural science-rich college. This concept may define a new way in which academic institutions will cooperate, avoiding redundancy and permitting synergy," says Dr. Block. "The center evolved as a lease arrangement from common interests between Jefferson, DVC and the Hepatitis B Foundation of America."
"The center will also provide research and educational collaborations where commercial and academic scientists will work together to advance partnerships in medical and agricultural biotechnology promoting the development of new products," says RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ben Franklin Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Ben Franklin Technology Center provided a grant to establish an "Innovation Center" in which commercial and academic interaction are nurtured.
Viral Therapeutics and Gene Therapy Initiatives
The research will follow a theme of viral therapeutics and agricultural medicine. For example, with the new center being home to the Hepatitis Foundation of America, a major research focus will be on the basic science pursuit of viral therapeutics.
In addition, the center will feature innovative approaches involving plants as functional foods for vaccines and therapeutics, under the guidance of Hilary Koprowski, MD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, JMC, and Director of the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories.
The Jefferson Center will also conduct a major gene therapy initiative headed by Eric B. Kmiec, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, JMC, and a member of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center.
As the only academic biotechnology center in Bucks County, Dr. Block sees other benefits for Doylestown and surrounding communities. "Jefferson, in establishing scientific laboratories and research facilities, will bring new scientific talent and spirit to the region and provide additional employment and educational opportunity. In addition, we hope to offer various scientific colloquia and seminars for students and the community at large."
The Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a non-profit corporation that promotes economic development and competitiveness in southeastern Pennsylvania through technology and innovation. As part of the statewide Ben Franklin Partnership, Ben Franklin supports the development of technology-based enterprises through a portfolio of investment and client-oriented service programs.