By R. Strongin, S. McGillis, and D. Iwata-Reuyl
Handling the increasingly complex challenges of understanding and managing human disease will require multidisciplinary teams of expert scientists and healthcare professionals. That the U.S. healthcare industry is projecting the need for an additional 5.6 million positions by 2020 only highlights this point.
Teaching and research at the new Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) will provide future generations of scientists and healthcare professionals an educational experience unparalleled in the state. The range of students at various stages of their education, from freshman at PSU to medical students from OHSU, pharmacy students from OSU, and Ph.D. students from all three institutions, as well as faculty and researchers from the participating universities, each with their distinct disciplines, cultures and approaches to problem solving, will all contribute to an unprecedented intellectual environment at the CLSB.
Faculty and researchers from PSU, OHSU, and OSU each bring their own individual, yet complementary strengths to the CLSB, and as the CLSB design promotes daily communications and the sharing of ideas and solutions across disciplines, scientists from the three institutions will be able to more rapidly translate fundamental discoveries into societal benefit.
The CLSB enables the three partnering universities to impart a unique collaborative skillset upon the future generations of scientists and healthcare professionals who will receive training at the new facility while also allowing researchers to better address the challenges inherent in combating disease via lowering barriers to cooperation.
Providing civil leadership through partnerships is one of President Wievel’s major initiatives. It includes enhancing the PSU-OHSU strategic partnership, as recently exemplified in stunning fashion by the opening of the CLSB. This event comes at a time when undergraduate and graduate research and education in the STEM fields at PSU are at a tipping point. The CLSB, a new HHMI grant, and ongoing growth in faculty research productivity are just a few examples of current successes and trends responsible for the creation of a transformative climate for PSU science faculty and students.
The opening of the CLSB has inspired PSU faculty in Chemistry and Biology to develop innovative, outcome-focused degree pathways featuring a series of revamped, highly engaging, student-oriented laboratory and lecture courses. With support from the Provost’s Challenge initiative and key university partners including the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Academic Innovation, Research and Strategic Partnerships, the Academic Research and Computing department and Advising and Career Services, these laboratory and lecture courses will soon be serving PSU students.
At a time when pre-health majors are emerging as the fastest growing student cohort in the U.S., PSU students in these majors will have a streamlined, interdisciplinary, skill-focused experience using the state-of-the-art facilities available at the CLSB while working with acclaimed PSU faculty in a highly collaborative environment alongside renowned medical researchers.
The addition of the CLSB to the university’s research assets positions PSU as a go-to destination for an undergraduate or graduate degree in the life and physical sciences, all degrees of notable value in the 21st century workforce.