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11.26.2013

Miller School Recognizes Innovator, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Wallace H. Coulter on Anniversary of his 100th Birthday

Miller School of Medicine researchers paid tribute to the far-reaching accomplishments of inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Wallace H. Coulter at a November 18 reception at the Life Science & Technology Park celebrating the anniversary of his 100th birthday.

Known worldwide for the Coulter Principle – a revolutionary technique to count and size red blood cells – the visionary entrepreneur founded the Coulter Corporation, now Beckman-Coulter, which moved from Chicago to Miami in the early 1960s. Before his death in 1998, he endowed the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, which continues to support leading-edge medical research to benefit clinical care.

“Wallace Coulter was a visionary who made many contributions to the improvement of healthcare – advancements from which we still benefit today,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “His foundation has provided my colleagues with the ability and expertise to move their research projects from experimental findings to tangible applications that impact public health.”

A $13 million grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation established the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research at the Miller School. The center, now located at the Life Science & Technology Park, focuses on breakthrough treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis, spinal cord injury and paralysis, along with other advances in biomedical technologies.

“The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation has been a great friend to the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine over the years,” Goldschmidt said. “We deeply appreciate the foundation’s generosity to the University and its extraordinary support of our research programs.”

Thanks to the foundation, the center has been able to provide $3.5 million in support for 33 research projects, according to Norma Sue Kenyon, Ph.D., Chief Innovation Officer at the Miller School and Vice Provost for Innovation at the University, and Executive Director of the Coulter Center. “Since 2006, there have been 11 startups that have received support from the Coulter Center, and gone on to raise more than $41 million from angel investors and venture capitalists,” Kenyon said. “We are also looking to support cross disciplinary projects involving different UM schools and colleges.”

Goldschmidt also noted that Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company based on the 1977 Nobel Prize winning research of Andrew V. Schally, Ph.D., M.Dhc (Multi), D.Sc, the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Pathology and professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, received funding and business development support from the Coulter Center.

Mara Neal, Director of Research Awards at the Coulter Foundation, noted that Coulter’s 100th birthday is also the 60th anniversary of his patent for the Coulter Principle. “I am humbled by the chance I had to know Wallace and his brother Joe,” she said. “It is a privilege to continue their work through our foundation.”

Neal introduced a video of Coulter’s life narrated by Sue Van, president and CEO of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. In the video, Van described Coulter as “the Christopher Columbus of cellular analysis” because his invention revolutionized hematology. “Billions of people around the world today have better health because of the ideas that came from Wallace Coulter,” she said in the video. “Today’s concept of personalized medicine can really be traced back to the brilliant mind of Wallace Coulter.”

At the reception, Goldschmidt recognized Laura Coulter-Jones, who is Wallace Coulter’s niece and a UM Trustee, and other foundation representatives attending the reception, including Wayne Barlin, Susan Racher, and Parmalyn Jacob. He also thanked Van for her ongoing support of the UM translational research center.

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