By Matt Friedman/Statehouse Bureau

TRENTON — While attention to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to overhaul the state’s higher education system has largely focused on a controversial takeover of Rutgers-Camden by Rowan University, a state lawmaker is now lobbying colleagues for an $80 million research laboratory in Newark.

Mel Evans/AP Photo The president of NJIT is hoping to collaborate with UMDNJ to create a research lab in Newark.
The ambitious plan is the idea of Joel Bloom, president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), which until now had been untouched by Christie’s vision to change the landscape of New Jersey’s medical and research centers in the north, south and central parts of the state.
The laboratory would be a collaboration between NJIT and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, which under Christie’s plan would lose its medical school and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey to Rutgers.
The notion for the facility, which would be called the Newark Laboratory for Life Sciences Innovation, is six months in the making but has not yet been discussed publicly.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) took up the cause on Monday in an e-mail message whose recipients included Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester); Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex); Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Richard McCormick, the departing president of Rutgers; and Denise Rodgers, the interim president of UMDNJ.


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