About UF | ICBR

Mission & History

MISSION

The mission of UF | ICBR is to champion and enable scientific discovery and innovation throughout the University of Florida research community by providing access to world-class biotechnology expertise and instrumentation. UF | ICBR is committed to creating a welcoming and creative environment, building upon the underlying principles of workforce diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

What does a DEI commitment mean to ICBR? We see how diversity in our team enriches our environment and enables insights that enhance discovery and innovation. We understand the profound importance of a workplace that is a welcoming, inclusive and empowering environment, where every individual is heard and valued for their unique perspective and contribution.  We are a team that is strengthened by our diversity and by our commitment to treat everyone with respect, consideration, and professionalism, irrespective of their race, religion, ethnicity, culture, sex, gender identity, ability, or level of education.  We embrace these convictions, and will work to uphold them within our facility and in our communities.

HISTORY

The idea for the campus-wide Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research (UF | ICBR) at the University of Florida (UF) was formed in 1985. The idea arose from the realization that the principles and tools of the then new field of biotechnology were applicable to all organisms, ranging from microbes to man. Initiation of the UF | ICBR as a UF Center came under the leadership Dr. Donald Price, then Vice President of Research, and a campus-wide committee of scientists working in biotechnology.  Through the efforts of Vice President Price and President Marshall Criser, $2 million/year were obtained from the State of Florida for operation of the Center and the UF | ICBR was officially established in 1987. While the funding came to three separate units of the UF (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences), control of the funding was centrally located in the Office of Research (formerly Research and Graduate Programs) to reflect the commonality of the principles and tools of biotechnology across all organisms. Professor Thomas O’Brien, Biochemistry, and Professor L. Curtis (Curt) Hannah, Horticultural Sciences, were named the founding co-directors of the UF | ICBR to recognize and empower the interdisciplinary nature of the Center.

The state funding was originally used for three purposes: first, as a seminar series in which world-class leaders in biotechnology were brought to the campus for presentations and extended visits; second, as partial funding for new faculty hires in the area of biotechnology; and third, the bulk of the funding was used to establish world-class core laboratories focused on the tools of biotechnology. These initial core laboratories included DNA synthesis, DNA sequencing, protein analysis and peptide synthesis, flow cytometry and cell sorting, monoclonal antibody development, computation and electron microscopy. Each core was supervised by a faculty member who had a working knowledge of the particular technology. State funds were used primarily for the salaries of the technical staff performing the analyses, creating a collective expertise that continues to be the foundation of UF | ICBR.

Today, the UF | ICBR continues to provide world-class services to a wide range of life science researchers. UF | ICBR also offers learning opportunities for scientists and their students through training to use equipment, seminar series and hosted workshops. Most of the core service laboratories are located centrally, in the Cancer and Genetics Research Complex – a space constructed with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH.) There are, on average, 58 ICBR staff members, with 22% faculty, 45% full-time staff and 33% postdoctoral associates and temporary or part-time positions. Most UF | ICBR faculty report only to UF | ICBR and do not have competing demands of a home department or tenure and teaching. While much has changed at UF | ICBR in the last 36 years, particularly in the technologies of biotechnology research, the principles of scientific expertise embedded within the dedicated staff remains the foundation of success in enabling the technology of biotechnology research at UF.

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