Sixteen members of the Northern Ireland Massachusetts Collaborative (NIMAC) visited UMass Medical School on Tuesday, Oct. 18, to learn more about life sciences research, education and commercial development in Central Massachusetts, and explore opportunities for international collaborations in those areas. In addition to delegates from Northern Ireland, the international cadre included representatives from Finland and the Catalonia region of Spain, who share similar goals and interests.
“Today is a chance to do two things. One is to get an overview of the Medical School and of the city of Worcester, and the life sciences work that is going on here,” said James Leary, vice chancellor for community & government relations, who escorted the visitors along with Chancellor Michael F. Collins. And, at the request of NIMAC organizers, “The other is to particularly focus upon diabetes research, as well as private companies that are engaged with diabetes in the Worcester area.”
Accordingly, after welcoming remarks and overviews of UMMS and its research enterprise from Chancellor Collins and Vice Provost of Research John Sullivan, MD, the group received a tour of the Diabetes Center of Excellence from David Harlan, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics, and co-director of the center. The tour was followed by presentations from Dr. Harlan; Dale Greiner, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence; and Michael Czech, PhD, chair and professor of molecular medicine and a pre-eminent diabetes investigator. The itinerary concluded with a trip to Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, a Worcester-based private non-profit corporation providing life science incubator labs, which co-hosted the event with the Medical School.
“We recognize that our major commitment is to Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but in fact, our science and our education and our research have an impact across the world,” said Chancellor Collins.