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Basic and Emerging Science

To achieve what was thought to be impossible, it’s best to start with the basics. Basic and emerging science provide the critical building blocks that set us on the path to uncovering groundbreaking results. One of the best examples of this principle is the work of George Smith, Mizzou’s Nobel Laureate. When he began his work on virus surface proteins, no one could have predicted it would one day lead to new treatments for metastatic cancer and autoimmune disease.

The University of Missouri is home to some of the best scientists in the world. Soon, they’ll call the NextGen Precision Health building home, coming together with researchers and clinicians under one roof to change the face of health care in Missouri and around the globe. 

Mizzou-Made Excellence

Our experts in animal science, big data, infectious diseases, immunology and more will partner with clinicians and researchers from across disciplines to bring precision health to patients, no matter where they live. From major urban centers to underserved rural communities, NextGen research is dedicated to delivering the next generation of personalized health care solutions to help people in need. 

As a state, nation and world, we face unprecedented challenges that require solutions that stretch beyond what we previously thought possible. Up to half of all U.S. deaths in a given year are preventable. That’s a reality we can no longer accept. 

Microscopic image of cells

Everything Ties Together

Basic science often has unexpected applications, such as how identifying a previously unknown cancer cell can be used to predict patient survival, as in the work of Dr. Jussuf Kaifi, or how understanding cell communication can be used to teach a patient’s immune system to attack invading cancers, such as in the work of Dr. Diana Gil Pagés. Both of these MU researchers are leveraging basic and emerging science discoveries to save lives. But this can only happen by connecting scientists to each other, as well as clinicians and production experts who can scale technology. 

Unique Strengths Under One Roof

Illustration of pig with network of connected dotsMU has a unique collection of assets not found in other places — For example, MU is home to the National Swine Resource and Research Center (NSRRC) and the Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center, which are NIH-funded animal model resource centers of global importance. The NSRRC is the only swine resource facility of its type in the Western Hemisphere and the Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center (established in 2019) is the first NIH-funded center of its kind. 

Mizzou is working to leverage its strengths in animal modeling and life sciences to create a center of excellence focused on viral and infectious diseases as part of the NextGen effort. A team of experts in infectious diseases, swine and systems biology, animal virology, infectious disease surveillance and more are being recruited to build a world-class team, bringing some of the top researchers in infectious diseases together right here in Missouri. 

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hands George Smith his Nobel Prize medal

Breakthrough Foundational Research

Dr. George Smith’s phage display research paved the way for the first FDA-approved fully human monoclonal antibody. The drug treats rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions. Smith shares a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work at the University of Missouri.