SPRINGFIELD – Today, U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal celebrated reaching a milestone of $10 million in federal funding for life sciences initiatives in the Pioneer Valley. New federal support of $1.6 million, announced at a news conference at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI), a partnership between Baystate Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, pushed federal support past the $10 million mark. PVLSI has used this funding to create and equip the facility that is now at the center of state-of-the-art biomedical research in Springfield. The investment provided the physical infrastructure that enables the Institute’s work in important areas such as breast cancer, diabetes and metabolic disorders, and regulation of the life cycle of cells, as well as its success in attracting additional support.
“I have been an outspoken supporter of the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI) for nearly a decade. This exciting partnership between BMC and UMASS will help benefit health, education and economic development in western Massachusetts and beyond. It also keeps our region competitive in a global economy,” said Congressman Neal, who played a significant role in attracting federal support for PVLSI. “I am proud to see our local scientific and medical minds gaining national recognition for leading the way in research that is crucial to ensuring a healthy future. The collaboration of BMC and UMASS has great potential, and through PVLSI, they can become a leader in an industry dedicated to improving human health and treating disease.”
The federal funding for life sciences includes $5,004,975 in funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); $2,000,000 from the Department of Defense; $1,231,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy; and $275,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. An additional $1.6 million in federal support is in the pipeline this year, with $1,000,000 coming from the Department of Energy and $662,000 from HRSA. More than 45 people work at PVLSI’s Springfield facility with another 4 to 6 hires planned for the coming year.
“The Pioneer Valley is home to a truly pioneering institution in PVLSI, of which Congressman Neal has been a great champion from the very start,” said Mark R. Tolosky, president and chief executive officer of Baystate Health. “This cutting-edge collaboration of science and medicine, right here in Springfield, is a tremendous asset for western Massachusetts. PVLSI brings medical and scientific expertise, innovation and jobs and investment to the city and to the region. It also supports BMC in its charitable mission to improve the health of the people in our communities.”
PVLSI integrates the clinical expertise of Baystate Medical Center, the largest clinical teaching site of the Tufts University School of Medicine, with the high-caliber research conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Physicians, life scientists, computer scientists and engineers team up to understand the molecular mechanisms of human disease in order to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools—the real-world applications that reach far beyond the research lab to improve or save peoples’ lives.
“We are profoundly appreciative of Congressman Neal’s visionary leadership in advocating for and securing federal investment in our 17,000 square foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility in Springfield,” said Dr. Paul Friedmann, executive director of PVLSI. “Without that federal funding, our scientists would not be so well positioned to compete for the grants and contracts they are now winning for research that will be conducted in Western Massachusetts.”
“At the Institute, scientists are focused on breast cancer, apoptosis, diabetes and metabolic disorders while having the opportunity to work together in an open laboratory that encourages novel collaborations and the formation of multidisciplinary teams,” said Dr. Lawrence M. Schwartz, PVLSI’s director of science. “We welcome collaborations with Baystate Medical Center clinicians and UMass Amherst scientists, as well as industry, to engage in projects that will advance knowledge and improve human health.”
PVLSI was created in 2002 as a joint venture of Baystate Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Amherst with the dual missions of biomedical research and economic development. Drawing on each of the founders as well as its own researchers, the Institute brings together physicians, scientists, and engineers to create interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams focused on the molecular mechanisms of disease and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. For more information, go to www.pvlsi.org.