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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

UF research, academic center opens at Lake Nona in Orlando

Gators have a chance to help the Orlando community.

The UF Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona, which aims to increase research opportunities while enhancing medical care in the Orlando area, opened Friday.

The roughly 106,000 square-foot facility is at 6550 Sanger Road in Lake Nona.

Academically, it is a collaboration of UF’s College of Pharmacy and UF’s College of Medicine, said Melanie Ross, director of news and communications for the UF Health Science Center.

“It is an opportunity for researchers and educators to work together and for the needs of Floridians in the Orlando community,” Ross said.

Regarding research, the facility provides space for UF’s Institute for Therapeutic Innovation, the Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology, the Institute on Aging and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

The center provides a location for the research institutes to better interact with patients, said David Nelson, director of clinical and translational science at the Clinical and Translational Science Institutes and associate dean of clinical research.

“The building really represents a chance for the best and the brightest of UF’s researchers to improve people’s lives,” he said.

Although UF has research institutes in Gainesville and Miami, the Lake Nona center is the largest educational research institute in the Orlando area, he said.

UF offered long-distance education in pharmacy in the Orlando area for about 10 years, but students began taking courses in the Lake Nona center in August.

About 200 students are pursuing doctorates in pharmacy or post-doctoral fellowships at the center, but it plans to increase its incoming classes from 50 to about 72, said Erin St. Onge, assistant dean and campus director for the center.

The center will allow students to work directly with well-known researchers, St. Onge said.

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The center also hopes to provide educational opportunities to students who can’t move or commute to Gainesville.

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