For Hometown News
PORT ST. LUCIE -- More than 700 people attended a recent dedication ceremony at the Indian River State College in Port St. Lucie, participating in tours and activities throughout the technologically advanced facility at the newly named Pruitt Campus.
A highlight of the ceremony was the naming of the College's St. Lucie West Campus in honor of former Florida Senate President Ken Pruitt, for his commitment to education and long-standing support of IRSC and its students.
The new William and Helen Thomas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at Indian River State College creates a unique synergy between the Florida college and life science institutes to support research and high-skill jobs.
Located in the region's growing biotechnology corridor in Port St. Lucie, the $19.5 million Thomas Center serves as a multi-faceted resource for scientific research, economic development, collaborative projects and student internships.
Students gain laboratory experience in the latest procedures using cutting-edge technology, preparing them for research-based positions and continued education. This skilled workforce will help to attract additional biotechnology firms to Florida's Research Coast, with well-paying career and advancement opportunities.
The three-story 56,000 square-foot building houses sophisticated laboratories in genetics, ecology, chemistry, molecular biology, botany and microbiology were developed in collaboration with neighboring life science institutes, including Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.
These and other life science firms provide internships for over 60 IRSC students each semester. The students work with scientists to study viruses that kill cancer cells, make chemical compounds to study methods to relieve pain, examine the ability of mosquitoes to transmit dengue fever, analyze the causes of citrus greening and study ways to combat plant diseases.
For more information, call the IRSC Information Call Center at (866) 792-4772 or visit www.irsc.edu.