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Where Talents Converge, By Plan and By Chance

by Carole VanSickle


Intro  |  Creating Synergy  |  A Powerful Lineup   |  Precious Resources

Little Critters Driving a Big Machine



The perennial campaign slogan of late senator Paul D. Coverdell was a straightforward “Coverdell works!” And his newest memorial, the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, promises to prove worthy of the “soft-spoken workhorse” — as colleagues described him — whose beliefs in education steered his lifelong efforts in the Georgia Senate, the United States Senate and the Peace Corps.

The new facility houses specialists from a multitude of disciplines, ranging from disease and immunology experts to mathematicians and engineers, all of whom are already involved in biomedically important research and committed to collaboration — and not just with colleagues in their own fields. Interdisciplinary research is the driving concept behind the Center, said David Lee, the University of Georgia’s vice president for research.

Interdisciplinary research brings multiple angles to scientific discovery. For example, a team interested in a disease such as malaria — caused by a parasite that is transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes — could incorporate the work of scientists specializing in insects, parasites, and the human immune system, as well as other relevant areas of inquiry.

“The answers to today’s most pressing questions are most likely to be found between disciplines,” said Regina Smith, associate vice president for research at UGA. “By creating arenas like the Coverdell facility where faculty can interact and collaborate with those unlike themselves, we acquire pieces of scientific puzzles not otherwise accessible. Universities and funding programs alike now realize that interdisciplinary efforts represent the zeitgeist now and into the future.”

Setting its talented and visionary occupants loose in an innovative architectural space, the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences aims to take interdisciplinary research in new and productive directions.

“When you assemble a critical mass of innovative collaborators, there is no telling what they’ll produce,” agreed Mike Strand, an entomology professor whose own work spans a spectrum of fields and applications, from the genetics of insects used in natural pest control programs in the Southeastern United States to health issues for human populations around the world.


Intro  |  Creating Synergy  |  A Powerful Lineup   |  Precious Resources


Research Communications, Office of the VP for Research, UGA
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