Florida Atlantic University (FAU) opened the $20 million, 95,000 sq. ft. Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine in 2011. This research college is addressing challenging health care issues such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and autoimmune diseases. In the short time since it opened, Schmidt has made a number of important medical advancements, including a novel approach to the treatment of macular degeneration, a primary cause of blindness in the elderly.
In 2015, the FAU John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter formed an educational and research program in partnership with the Scripps Research Institute and the Max Planck Florida Institute to enhance their research capabilities and build a program of unique undergraduate and graduate degrees. The initiative allows students to work and study alongside some of the world’s leading researchers. Scripps’s mission is to build a world-class biomedical research system in Florida, and the Max Planck Institute’s research focus is in neuroscience, particularly seeking to gain insights into brain circuitry.
The Schmidt College of Medicine is also affiliated with the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Port St. Lucie. Torrey Pines conducts basic research into human diseases and human health, and specializes in the study of such conditions as multiple sclerosis, heart disease, inflammatory disorders, infectious diseases, transplant rejection, wasting syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and new methods of drug discovery. A recent Torrey Pines discovery was how blood cell production is regulated within the bone marrow, with potential benefits for millions around the world suffering from illnesses caused by blood cell deficiencies.
This recognition of the need for interdisciplinary collaboration between these institutions is building an alliance that will help cure diseases, develop new medications, educate students and generate jobs. The collaboration will also have a positive impact on the regional economy in itself, and will serve to attract additional life sciences and biomedical organization into the county.
Another exciting research development is the Florida Drug Discovery Acceleration Program. Led by the Torrey Pines Institute, the partnership, funded by the State of Florida Department of Health, has created a library of over 30 million drug-like compounds and billions of peptides, to aid partners in the development of new medicines. FAU and 15 other institutions across the state, also including Scripps, are members in this alliance.
As Palm Beach County seeks to build an economic base in biomedical and life sciences, the collaboration and cooperation among these notable institutions is attracting further research and medical expertise to locate here.