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Kansas: A Thriving Community of Life Scientists

Jan 04, 2017

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Kansas’ various industries are part of what makes the state’s business climate so vibrant. The life science sector engages a variety of businesses, three state universities and soon, the federal government. The life science sector includes human, animal and plant sciences.

“The life science industry in Kansas is essential to the economy and its impact on worldwide research and scientific advancement goes unmatched,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. “Enhancing the life science industry in Kansas through the advancement of the various highly-ranked universities as well as assisting life science businesses, not only helps Kansas’ economy, it provides valuable input into the human, animal and plant scientific communities.”

Part of what makes Kansas so successful in this industry is the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. The corridor unites all companies engaged in the life science industry under one banner. In Kansas, 11 counties are part of the KC Animal Health Corridor and 15 counties are in Missouri. According to the Kansas City Life Sciences Industry Census, 155 companies in Kansas are part of this corridor.

“The KC Animal Health Corridor allows for the unification of these companies and the advancement of this sector,” said Secretary Soave. “By including these companies in one entity, they are brought together in collaboration, and efforts to share information, research and resources is easier and more efficient, leading to greater advances than ever before.”

Due to Kansas’ success in the life science industry, a facility that will house level three and four biosafety laboratories is currently under construction in Kansas. The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will act as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s foremost animal disease research facility in the nation. This laboratory will research both exotic and domestic highly infectious diseases that threat animal and human health including, swine influenza, Zika Virus, Anthrax, H1N1 and more.

“Due to the location of this facility in Kansas, which will replace an aging facility in New York, NBAF will facilitate important veterinary, agricultural and biosecurity research,” said Secretary Soave. “The research conducted at NBAF will be enhanced by the location of the facility near so many businesses and universities who are engaged in life science research as well, allowing the life science industry in Kansas to make worldwide scientific impacts.”

Education in the state has been a catalyst for the success of the life science industry. There are 228 health science degrees offered at 26 public community, technical and municipal universities and colleges in Kansas. Students at these institutions can receive certificates, associates, bachelors, master’s degrees, as well as Ph.D.’s and Medical Degrees.

Universities like the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University, all house a plethora of life science degrees.

“The life science industry creates a nexus between education and business through highly-skilled professionals coming into the workforce and creating opportunities for businesses in this sector to succeed on the highest level,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave.

The University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) incorporates education, research, patient care and service with the goal of becoming the area’s premiere educator in human health science. KUMC is composed of the School of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. It produces doctors, nurses, heath professionals and scientists. The School of Medicine offers 838 Medical Degrees, 22 Medical Degree/Ph.D. programs and 332 graduate degrees. The School of Nursing offers 300 undergraduate degrees and 13 other types of degrees. Finally, the School of Health Professions offers 120 undergraduate degrees and 513 graduate degrees. In the fall of 2016, 3,509 students were enrolled at the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health at the University of Kansas.

In addition to these professional training schools, KUMC also houses 31 research institutes and centers, including the renowned Cancer Center, Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Institute for Reproductive Health and Regenerative Medicine, Landon Center on Aging and the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center.

Kansas State University offers students the opportunity to contribute to advancement in technology, medicine, veterinary training and patient care standards by incorporating animal and plant health initiatives. The school has 23 various centers and institutions located throughout the state. K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine is currently ranked 14th in the nation.

Wichita State University is also home to the National Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research (CIBOR). The center is dedicated to researching and developing the potential use of composite materials in a wide variety of bioscience and medical applications. The professionals at CIBOR believe that through the use of composite materials utilized in the aerospace and aviation industries, the performance of implants and other medical devices used in orthopedics could be enhanced. The center serves to bridge the gap between the aerospace and aviation manufacturing and the medical devices manufacturing industries.

“The education taking place and research support provided to our state universities is vital to the continued success of this industry in Kansas,” said President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents Blake Flanders. “The training of future leaders in medicine and nursing, our strong veterinary medicine program, and a deep commitment to degree fields throughout the sciences contribute to a workforce of highly-skilled professionals actively participating in a growing life science industry in Kansas.”

The state of Kansas’ life science industry boasts the foundation of highly-ranked educational institutions and the enhancements of the various life science businesses located throughout the state. The life science industry continues to grow and thrive in Kansas thanks to the successful professionals that call Kansas home and continue to strive for scientific advancements in this field.