South Dakota has positioned itself to catalyze biotech research and development through an innovative virtual center with more than 30 affiliated researchers.
Called the BioSystems Networks & Translational Research, or BioSNTR, formed nearly two years is expanding its research capabilities.
This statewide collaborative includes participants from South Dakota’s public universities, private colleges and the public and private sectors.
The major research focus is at the interface of imaging, computational sciences and cellular manipulation:
“This is a huge undertaking,” director Adam Hoppe said. “We’re about team science. We’re about taking teams of individual faculty with individual expertise and grouping them together to form strong teams. We are across institutions and across departments in institutions. We’re very much a virtual center in that sense.”
In the last 18 months, universities that are part of BioSNTR have hired eight tenure-track faculty attracted to the BioSNTR model. They bring expertise in bioinformatics, advanced imaging and biomaterials.
The center, which is funded through $22 million state and federal dollars over five years, also has invested in state-of-the-art, world class imaging technology, including a microscope that can see moving parts of a living cell in 3D in real time.
A sequencing facility at South Dakota State University is also “open for business” and able to do “next generation sequencing on research projects” combined with access to high performance computing and data analysts.
“The core teams have been formed, new equipment is in place, direction has been set and the capacities are there,” Hoppe said. “We’re looking at the next three years as the time in which we’re going to do the most impactful science we can do.”
BioSNTR has started partnering with biotech businesses in a variety of areas but wants to get the word out about BioSNTR’s research capacities as well as partnership and product development opportunities.
“We’re creating a new model we think can coalesce an exciting range of expertise,” Hoppe said. “The research and collaborations coming out of BioSNTR have tremendous potential to grow biotechnology in our state and make a broad range of impacts.”
To learn more about BioSNTR, contact Dan Engebretson, Dan.Engebretson@usd.edu.