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Business Review Western MI
Business Review Western MI
MSU researcher just the beginning' for GR
(2008-01-02)
(wgvu) - MSU researcher just the beginning' for GR

Jan. 3, 2008

By Mark Sanchez
marks@mbusinessreview.com

Drawn by what he sees as a world-class clinical base, plus the
region's civic pride, Richard Leach represents the start of what
Michigan State University wants for Grand Rapids.

An accomplished researcher in reproductive biology and conditions and
diseases that affect women's health, Leach is the first researcher MSU
based in Grand Rapids as it gears up to open a College of Human Medicine
campus in downtown later this year.

His decision to come to western Michigan to conduct his research very
well could aid MSU as it seeks to lure other senior researchers and
scientists to the new medical-school campus.

He's in an excellent position to represent us in selling to
others, said Jeff Dwyer, acting associate dean of research at the
college.

We hope he is just the beginning, Dwyer said. In some ways, he
makes our job easier down the road.

Leach, an M.D., joined MSU at midyear as department chair for
obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology. He previously was a
tenured professor and director of reproductive endocrinology and
infertility in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University
of Illinois, as well as an attending physician and surgeon at the
university's medial center.

Before his three years at Illinois, Leach held a variety of similar
positions during a 14-year period at Wayne State University in Detroit,
while also working as a physician and surgeon.

A recipient of several National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development grants, Leach said he was attracted to Grand Rapids by the
clinical and research buildup under way.

MSU through partnerships with the Van Andel Institute, Spectrum
Health and Saint Mary's Health Care, and with an emphasis on molecular
medicine will elevate significantly the medical research occurring
in Grand Rapids and plans to focus heavily on commercializing
breakthroughs that occur in the lab.

Taking the model MSU fashioned for the college in Grand Rapids and
bringing it to reality was a very interesting proposition for
Leach.

There's sort of this boldness-by-design mantra that people are
talking about that I think really exemplifies what's happening here.
There aren't many new developments like this across the country,
said Leach, who wants to bridge his research with a local clinical
practice base for reproductive and women's health that's as good
as any service around the country.

I really saw sort of the opportunity to apply and build a sort of
research service, a research division and an educational enterprise in a
university setting that could not only service this area but could also
collaborate with the clinical practices here, he said. It pretty
much clicked when there was this understanding about what the
opportunities were and they were real opportunities.

Leach is now building a research group, and MSU is targeting additional
researchers to bring to Grand Rapids, Dwyer said.

Digestive disorders, Parkinson's disease and cancer are the initial
research areas that MSU is also targeting to base in Grand Rapids.

On top of the clinical excellence and research buildup, Leach likes the
Grand Rapids community interest and support for building the medical
research sector.
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