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UW Cuts Ribbon on Pharmacy Research Laboratory

March 3, 2016
man leaning against counter watching man in chair work in lab
Assistant Professor Jared Bushman, right, watches while a colleague works in the UW School of Pharmacy’s new L.S. Skaggs Research Laboratory. (UW Photo)

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity and College of Health Sciences Dean Joe Steiner cut the ribbon on the new L.S. Skaggs Research Laboratory today (Thursday).

“The ALSAM Foundation is appreciative of the support the University of Wyoming gives to its School of Pharmacy,” says Ronny Cutshall, the foundation’s president. “The foundation is pleased to be able to lend its financial support to the improvement of the laboratory facilities of the School of Pharmacy.”

The ALSAM Foundation funds have improved the research infrastructure at the School of Pharmacy and allowed the school to hire Jared Bushman, a leader in regenerative medicine.

This gift has made it possible for Bushman to successfully conduct his research. The funding that provided innovations to Bushman’s lab augmented the startup package and provided his team with the mechanisms to transfer existing grants from Rutgers University to UW. In addition to a modernized laboratory, the funds were used to construct a revolutionary surgical suite, which is an integral part of Bushman’s research.

“The Skaggs family has been dedicated advocates and financial supporters of pharmacy education for many years,” Steiner says. “Through the ALSAM Foundation, established by Mr. and Mrs. Skaggs, they have had a profound impact and have immeasurably improved pharmacy education and research in the Western states. Their wonderful children have carried on this remarkable tradition. I am so happy that they honored us by providing the funding for this research laboratory, and I expect to see great discoveries coming from it.”

The remodeled laboratory has provided space for Bushman to hire a postdoctoral fellow, a graduate student and two undergraduate students. The restructured space allowed for expansion of the research team, resulting in the submission of three research proposals based on data generated in these new facilities. Using the laboratory space as a research training site for pharmacy students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, the school can achieve its graduate teaching mission: creating pharmacists who are scholar practitioners.

two men shaking hands in a crowd
UW President Dick McGinity, right, shakes hands with College of Health Sciences Dean Joe Steiner during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the L.S. Skaggs Research Laboratory. (UW Photo)

Bushman has an interdisciplinary background in pharmacology and neuroscience that has merged with biomaterials and regenerative medicine. He is joined by an impressive team, and their work aims to create a new clinical standard for peripheral nerve regeneration through allografting, which is organ or tissue transplant between genetically non-identical people.

Currently, the gold standard for peripheral nerve regeneration is a sensory autograft -- transplanting a nerve from one part of the body to another in the same individual. Given the large number of patients who experience severe peripheral nerve injury and disease, and the current limited-function recovery, peripheral nerve regeneration through allografting is an important step forward.

The laboratory is named after L.S. “Sam” Skaggs, whose ultimate goal was to alleviate human suffering. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, he was born in 1923 and served for four years in the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service during World War II. When he returned home, he worked in the family’s retail drug store, Skaggs Drug Centers.

After the sudden death of his father, Skaggs became the president of the 11-store chain. He expanded the business and acquired new companies that soon branched out across the country. By 1965, he operated 65 drug stores with sales of $89 million.

He was a pioneer in the first successful food-and-drug-stores combination. By his retirement, Skaggs Companies had become American Stores Company and was operating nearly 1,700 stores. Skaggs was a huge supporter of education and health research.

The L.S. Skaggs Research Laboratory is a tribute to Skaggs’ unwavering dedication to alleviate human suffering and supports the research, scientists and students who make it possible, Steiner says.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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