In 2000, scientists at Northeastern University and MIT unveiled findings that sonar technology could be used to more accurately determine fish stocks. This technological revelation is critical because of the effect climate change has on fish stocks. Ann-Margaret has repeatedly sought and built coalitions to fund this important research method. She continues to work with industry leaders such as Legal Sea Foods CEO and President Roger Berkowitz to assure that the government uses the best attainable science.
Building a New Innovative Research and Commercial Cluster
In 2015, during her tenure as Vice Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Ann-Margaret worked tirelessly to make the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) a reality. She has played a pivotal role in bringing biotech leaders such as David Walt, Greg Verdine and Marc Vidal together. Ann-Margaret secured critical funding in the state budget for GMGI’s early programs. GMGI’s early successes and Ann-Margaret’s continued advocacy at the state level ultimately lead to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts investing $2.7 million in a new facility on Gloucester Harbor, which opened in 2018, creating new opportunities for science and job growth on Cape Ann.
Ann-Margaret realizes that one institution alone cannot bring the critical mass of research needed to establish a marine research center on Cape Ann. Therefore, in addition to the establishment of the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute on Cape Ann, she has brought state investment to state agencies and university with the potential to create the synergy needed to maximize Cape Ann’s potential as a research hub.
Working with officials from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Ann-Margaret secured funding for the rehabilitation and re-opening of the UMass Amherst Marine Station in Gloucester. Since that initial funding, UMass Amherst has renewed its commitment to its presence on Cape Ann, investing in further improvements to the station and hiring full-time staff for its marine science work based out of the Hodgkins Cove lab.
In cooperation with regional stakeholders and state officials, Ann-Margaret has secured funding for the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute to develop a state marine genomics program involving GMGI, the Division of Marine Fisheries, and UMass Amherst Marine Station Gloucester. The development of the statewide genomics program resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding involving the three entities and their future working relationship on marine genomics research. The first state genomics research program will investigate how norovirus is transmitted from shellfish to humans, providing information useful for both shellfish consumers and harvesters.
Ann-Margaret has brought biotechnology to our students and to our evolving workforce, giving everyone from a recent high school graduate to a more advanced student the opportunity to find work in this emerging field, by helping to establish the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, a training program for biotechnology skills on Cape Ann. Moreover, she has worked to fund cutting-edge fisheries research that may improve fisheries research and bring invaluable information about the fishery to future generations.
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