By Darrin Kuystermans
It’s always a pleasure to get the opportunity to highlight Sanford-Burnham’s research to visitors coming to the Institute. I’m from the Netherlands and on April 18 I had the special honor of giving the Dutch Consul-General, Ambassador Simone Filippini, a tour of our facilities at Lake Nona. The Ambassador was touring Orlando’s Medical City to learn about the region’s emerging biomedical cluster and opportunities to grow the United States-Netherlands trade and investment in the biomedical/biotechnology sector.
Ambassador Filippini is no stranger to Florida and its economy, being based at the Dutch Consulate in Miami, which is in charge of several southern U.S. states in addition to Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands. The Consul-General can have a great impact on stimulating inter-country business development, especially since the U.S. and the Netherlands share so many common values, history, and a commitment to innovation.The Ambassador and her intern were accompanied by Patrick C. Willemsen, the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Orlando, and Thaddeus Seymour, who oversees health and life science investments at Lake Nona. Sanford-Burnham communications specialist Patrick Bartosch and I had the chance to explain how the Institute’s technology and core facilities enable state-of-the-art research and drug discovery towards therapies for complex diseases and how Sanford-Burnham plays a key role in the development of a life science cluster in Orlando’s Medical City.
Ambassador Filippini was very impressed by our facilities and the Institute’s work to advance basic medical research through collaborations and I was honored to represent the Institute. Opportunities like this begin the dialogue about trade and biomedical research investment relations between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States. I am sure the Dutch consul-general won’t be the last diplomat to visit the Institute. Sanford-Burnham is such an international place to work, we may see more posts like this one in the future!
Darrin, originally from the Netherlands, is manager of the Protein Production and Analysis Core in Lake Nona.