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New Director Named to Head NC State’s Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research

Jorge Piedrahita, a professor of genomics in North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed director of the NC State Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research.

Effective immediately, the appointment by Dr. Paul Lunn, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, follows a national search.

The Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR) is a community of more than 100 scientists representing 19 departments in five NC State colleges, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina with a mission to promote scientific discovery, support its clinical application, and speed its delivery to improve animal and human health.

“I am delighted to appoint Dr. Piedrahita to this critically important post,” says Dean Lunn. “We had an outstanding slate of candidates for this leadership role and ultimately Dr. Piedrahita was asked to take on this position because of his vision, administrative abilities, and his significant personal research accomplishments. His connections across the university, region, and indeed the globe provide exactly what the CCMTR needs as it strives to increase its impact on One Health and all aspects of translational medicine.”

“The Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research is engaged in  transformative ‘bench to bedside’ collaborative research and is a critical component of NC State’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and our contributions to global public health” says Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Warwick Arden. “We look forward to Dr. Piedrahita’s leadership as the CCMTR continues to promote scientific discovery and its application to improve the health of all species.”

In making the appointment Dean Lunn notes Dr. Piedrahita’s recent research efforts.

“Dr. Piedrahita is internationally recognized for his own research with imprinted genes in embryo development and in disease,” says Dean Lunn. “He currently leads the CCMTR Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Core, and was instrumental in developing NC State’s research partnership with the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest’s Baptist Medical Center—a collaboration that is expected to lead to safe and effective ways to use cells to regenerate damaged organs in people and pets.”

Piedrahita joined the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. He had been serving as the associate director of the Center for Animal Biotechnology and Genomics at Texas A&M University, a position he held since 1999 after joining the Texas A&M faculty in 1991.

Piedrahita has an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia and master’s and doctoral degrees from University of California, Davis. He did post-doctoral work in molecular genetics at the University of North Carolina from 1989 to 1991, working with eventual Nobel Prize recipient Oliver Smithies. Piedrahita holds five patents and seven invention disclosures, has been the lead or contributing author on more than 60 journal articles, and contributed to more than 20 book chapters. A two-time recipient of the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, Piedrahita has received numerous other research honors as well as NC State recognition through the Ruth and Ned Huffman Leadership Award and the Litwack Lecture Award.

“I am grateful to have this opportunity and look forward to ensuring the CCMTR continues to develop into a premier research consortium,” says Piedrahita. “We are committed to developing therapies that help both animals and humans and that, in the process, create an internationally recognized center of excellence at the forefront of veterinary applications that enhance animal and human health.”

About the CCMTR

Located on NC State University’s Centennial Biomedical Campus, the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR) involves more than 100 scientists from the NC State colleges of:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences,
  • Engineering,
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences,
  • Textiles,
  • Veterinary Medicine

In addition, researchers include scientists from Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

The collaborative strength of the CCMTR has been recognized by an award from the Chancellors’ Faculty Excellence Program. The award included funding to add three faculty positions and resources to initiate a pilot manufacturing laboratory at the CVM where novel concepts can be developed and tested in a veterinary setting before moving to human applications.

CCMTR initiatives are based on the “One Medicine” concept—the realization that the health and well-being of the environment, wild and domestic animals, and humans are interdependent. CCMTR researchers embrace this philosophy and seek to capitalize on advances in biomedical research for the benefit of all animal species.

Research cores include: Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Biostatistics, Clinical Genomics, Comparative Neurobiology, Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases, Mucosal Pathophysiology, Oncology, and Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. The Center is also home to service cores that provide advanced technology, collect and store clinical patient samples, and perform clinical trials to validate new medical interventions.