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Global Research, Education, and Business Collaborations – Where Could UTHSC Go Next?

Pictured left to right: Drs. Youngentob, Tigyi, Kang, Goodman, Cormier and Brown

When the University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted a delegation of Chinese scientists in mid-April as part of an ongoing conversation to bring novel research initiatives, cutting-edge biotechnologies, and a student and postdoctoral Fellow Exchange Program to Memphis, you may wonder what could all this mean for UTHSC’s future?

Our university offers several unique assets to companies looking to expand their research capabilities. One asset is the soon-to-be-complete Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems. The facility will be a contract manufacturing operation (CMO) for pharmaceutical companies ranging from startups to big pharma. Training for students and professionals in drug manufacturing will also be hosted on-site. It will be one of the few in the USA that can develop a drug from trials to market once completed.
The future UT-Baptist Research UTHSC Biotechnology Research Park will be a state-of-the-art campus designed for the highly-specialized needs of Memphis’ growing bioscience community. At completion, the park will feature 1.2 million square feet of laboratory, research, education and business development space located on a 10-acre campus in the heart of the Memphis Medical Center.
Among the key players who visited UTHSC were Y. James Kang, PhD, Professor and Director at Sichuan University West China Regenerative Medicine Center and Chief Scientific Officer and CEO of Sichuan Revotek and Nathan Kangpan, CEO of Revotek – North America. Sichuan Revotek recently received international attention for the creation of the world’s first 3D blood vessel bioprinter and the successful implantation of such artificial blood vessels into rhesus monkeys. Revotek is looking for research capabilities, and eventually a manufacturing site, in the United States to further develop the technology and begin clinical trials. If a partnership with UTHSC is successful, not only could it bring millions of dollars into the Memphis economy but UTHSC would be the first site in the USA to host this technology.
The visit is a reciprocation of a previous trip by a UTHSC delegation to Chengdu in February led by Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Steven R. Goodman. During that trip, there was discussion on the finalization of a student and postdoctoral Fellow Exchange Program between UTHSC and West China School of Medicine and West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The second part of that visit was dedicated to the establishment of research ties and collaborations with companies in Chengdu’s High-Tech Zone. More details on that trip can in be found later in this edition of the Research Rainmaker.
Nestled in Memphis where companies such as FedEx and Medtronic also host flagship operations, one can see that UTHSC is the prime catalyst for facilitating successful partnerships built on international education, research, and business development. Finalization of these international collaborative efforts between UTHSC and China is expected to be completed in the very near future. Approvals of a UTHSC-Sichuan University Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) Award to stimulate research collaborations between the faculty of these two Universities will also be finalized.
-Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer