By Todd Taylor; photos by Jackie Hart
Top brain cancer researchers and University of Florida leaders unveiled a new, world-class neuro-oncology laboratory at UF’s Basic Science Building on July 24.
The new facility, named the Adam Michael Rosen Neuro-Oncology Laboratories, provides an innovative workspace and the best and latest equipment to the team of Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of UF’s Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy, focused on stimulating immune responses against malignant brain tumor cells.
“As we celebrate this milestone today, I want to extend my gratitude to Harris Rosen and his family members and friends,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “The progress made in this facility for patients with brain tumors will be because of you and because of your generosity, your compassion and your commitment.”
The laboratory was made possible by a gift from The Harris Rosen Foundation that also led to the launch of the UF Health-led ReMission Alliance Against Brain Tumors in 2019. The state-of-the-art facility is named in memory of Harris Rosen’s son Adam Michael Rosen, who received care at UF Health and died in November 2018 after a prolonged fight against brain cancer.
“My hope, my dream, is that one day we will have a treatment, a cure, for all brain cancer,” said Harris Rosen, an Orlando hotelier and philanthropist.
Located on the first floor of the Basic Science Building, the new laboratory includes 13,120 square feet of lab and work space, more than three times the space the team previously occupied at UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. The laboratory’s open design can support over 64 research-scientists, fellows and trainees and features nine faculty offices and a shared faculty workroom that can accommodate three additional faculty members.
“We moved into a beautiful laboratory eight years ago, and since then our program has expanded considerably,” said Mitchell, the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor in the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery. “This new laboratory cannot only support our existing team, but also gives us room for additional growth and recruitments. Its open design concept is optimized for even more collaboration and exchange of ideas among our research groups.”
The lab features four cell culture rooms, 15 isolation stations and 40 workstations. It also houses a clinical isolation room to process brain tumor specimens in an isolated environment and a dedicated room for specialized microscopy and flow cytometry to analyze individual cancer and immune cells.
“This is truly one of the most extraordinary research spaces I’ve seen in my career,” said Mitchell, director of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “Along with the additional space for people, it brings us more functional, specialized research spaces and equipment for the work we’re doing.”
Mitchell’s team leads numerous novel clinical trials aimed at significantly improving quality of life and long-term survival for patients fighting malignant brain tumors.
William Friedman, M.D., co-director of UF’s Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy, a UF neurosurgeon and chair emeritus of the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery, and Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center, also delivered remarks at the dedication ceremony.