Budget conference: UF researchers score millions to study Alzheimer’s, turkeys
Image via UF.

UF Adam Smith Center
Budget negotiators already agreed to millions for biomedical, marine and agricultural science for the university.

From dementia studies to marine science, University of Florida (UF) researchers scored significant wins in the Legislature’s late-night budget talks.

In the latest House offer, the state’s most prominent university scored $7.5 million for biomedical innovation, $4.25 million for Alzheimer’s work, $1.59 million for wild turkey studies and $1.2 million for marine bioscience.

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee agreed to all those programs in its final offer to the Senate before budget talks bumped to a high level. The House also wants to give the school another $1 million to UF for a forensic interview center on its Jacksonville campus, but the Senate has yet to agree to that expense.

Rep. Jennifer Canady, a Lakeland Republican, put in the House request for the biggest of those line-item budget wins. The chambers have both agreed to budget $7.5 million for a biomedical program. Of note, Canady originally sought $15 million.

The request, from UF Health Sciences Vice President David Nelson, said funding would “strengthen the statewide ecosystem fueling therapeutic innovation and biotech development and to cultivate thematic centers of excellence poised to address grand challenges in health research facing people in Florida and beyond. Plans envision growing UF Health’s faculty roster of principal investigators, expanding and updating its core scientific services, and building up its emerging centers of excellence.”

Rep. Josie Tomkow, a Polk City Republican, made the request for Alzheimer’s and dementia funding. Again, she sought more than budget negotiators ultimately agreed to, asking for $5 million but landing a close $4.25 million.

Field of Dreams owner Nick Ferreri submitted the ask with Tomkow’s Office. The official request said money would help with research “including development of immunotherapies targeting the Tau protein.” It would also help with faculty and staff recruitment.

The funding will go on top of federal funding for research that now exceeds $35 million a year, and the state support would help ensure that flow of grant support at the national level.

UF wants to conduct a statewide turkey survey through its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which has a presence in satellite facilities around Florida.

The $1.59 million for that effort fully funds a request filed by Rep. Randy Maggard, a Dade City Republican. Dr. Marcus Lasher from the IFAS Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department put in the request that the study would help with habitat management and connectivity, and would help increase the state’s wild turkey population.

Full funding was also secured for the UF’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience request. Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, a St. Johns Republican sought and secured $1.2 million. A request from program director and professor Mark Martindale said the dollars would maximize the investment in the lab and help grow staff and student assistant positions.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • The Greatest Metaphor Ever

    March 2, 2024 at 10:33 am

    UF studying turkeys with State funds


  • The Great Gainesville Grift

    March 2, 2024 at 10:38 am

    $965,000 of the ~$1.6 goes to salaries;

    Great Gainesville Grift, playa! 🦃🦃🦃🦃💰💰💰💰💲💲💲💲

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 2, 2024 at 12:03 pm

    Demented Turkey. Finally a job Rhonda is qualified for, but I bet he still gets Floribama Community College President anyways.

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 2, 2024 at 5:12 pm

    Good evening Florida,
    Fireing all those in DEI positions clearly scores your University “Powerfull and Sage Friends with Benifits”.
    At this time over in T. Town there is much “Wailing & Gnashing of Teeth” due to the fact that I, Earl Pitts American, first approached FSU with the “AX DEI & GET PAID OFFER” but due to the undisputable fact that FSU’s President (Unlike me, Earl Pitts American & UF’s President) suffers from tiny peanuts in his tighty whitees rather than the “Ginormous Bull of The Woods Gonads) the prize goes to The Gators ….. Chomp Chomp.
    Thank you Florida,
    Earl Pitts “Bull Gator” American

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