Of the eleven scientists just announced as winners of the new Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize, four of them have their labs within a block or two of each other in Manhattan: two at Rockefeller University, one at Weill Cornell Medical College, and one at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The prize, given to recognize past achievement in research aimed at curing disease and extending human life, comes with $3M to allow each of those researchers the freedom and flexibility to pursue even more groundbreaking work in the future. The founding sponsors of the prize are tech entrepreneurs Sergey Brin (Google) and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Priscilla Chan, Art Levinson (Apple), and Yuri Milner (venture capitalist). The 11 winners this year will serve on the board to choose 5 winners each in subsequent years.
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Tags: 2014, Rockefeller University, 2013, Northeast, cancer research, women in science, New York, Weill Cornell, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, RockU, BioResearch Product Faire Event, NY, New York City, Cancer Center, Rockefeller
With this winter's epic flu invasion maxing out emergency room space and leaving pharmacies without enough flu vaccine, influenza research is a hot topic in the news. Inquiring minds want to know: when will we have the tools to put this mutating foe out of commission once and for all? One very interesting approach to the problem of outsmarting the flu virus involves disrupting its timing by altering a critical protein it needs to exit the cell. At Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, microbiologist and virologist Benjamin R. tenOever recently published an article on his lab research into the molecular basis of virus pathogenicity in the journal Cell Reports. He was also interviewed by NPR just last week for their shots health news program, where he described the carefully-orchestrated maneuvering of the flu virus both into and out of the host cell by likening it to a bank robbery. If one part of the plan doesn't go off like clockwork, the gig is up.
Tags: 2014, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 2013, Northeast, Virology, influenza research, New York, MSSM, BioResearch Product Faire Event, NY, New York City, Life Science Technology, lab supplier, Mt. Sinai
Neurobiology research has a long and storied history at Columbia University and its Medical School in New York, dating back to the groundbreaking work of American neurologist Harry Grundfest 60 years ago. 30 years ago Columbia became one of the first universities to bring together diverse, cross-disciplinary researchers in neighboring labs to study behavior at the cellular, molecular, and systems level. By 2004, when Columbia celebrated its 250th anniversary, university president Lee Bollinger (right) announced the formation of a Mind Brain Behavior Initiative to more productively bring scientists into an even more integrated research effort across not only the two existing New York City campuses, but with an anchor (and crossroads) at the new CU Manhattanville campus then in the active planning stages.
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Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City has just celebrated the opening of its Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine in Harlem, with no fewer than 6 full floors (180,000sf) dedicated to laboratory research. The 2 buildings that make up the research facilities and the residential/clinical tower have been under construction for four years, and when we last reported on their progress, the opening had been projected into Spring of 2013. Clearly they've made up some time and are eager to be fully operational as soon as possible. In fact, in a news release, officials said that they had originally expected it to take 4-5 years from the opening to a point where they were fully staffed (with new recruits), but now they've shortened that time to 18-24 months.
Researchers in the St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases at Rockefeller University have recently published the results of a study that demonstrates how organs like the brain have their own defense systems which, when disrupted, can permit disease despite a healthy white blood cell count. The key is the production of interferon, which are proteins triggered by a receptor called TLR3 that send up the alarm to fight infection (by interfering with the pathogen's reproduction). When that TLR3 receptor is faulty on a neuron or other brain cell, no interferon is produced and the patient can suffer a disease of the brain even though that same pathogen is being combatted effectively in other parts of the body. We now know there seem to be localized systems of immune response within specific organs, and that interferon therapy may help patients with rare localized diseases.
Most of us ate turkey with friends and family in a warm house yesterday. Today many are shopping. Meanwhile on Long Island, Staten Island and the Jersey Shore, volunteer organizations are still hard at work cleaning up the mess from Sandy and helping people move their lives forward. Instead of Thanksgiving at home with family, military veterans volunteering with Team Rubicon probably ate a donated meal with fellow workers or community members. Maybe they got to rest their muscles for a day.
The Department of Neuroscience at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine comprises 25 research laboratories with total NIH funding for 2012 of $19.3M. Most labs are on the 9th Floor of the Icahn Medical Institute building on Madison Avenue. Neuroscience faculty may also receive support and engage in collaborative research through MSSM's Friedman Brain Institute, which coordinates brain and spinal cord research from departments and clinics across the medical school campus. In fact, the largest recipient of 2012 NIH funding at MSSM Neuroscience is Brain institute Director Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD.
Though the general consensus seems to be that the Northeast weathered deadly storm Sandy relatively well thanks to warnings and emergency plans put into action, there were unexpected casualties beyond the loss of over 80 human lives. Massive flooding in the lower New York Metro Area was not on the radar to the extent that it actually transpired, and basements that were thought to be flood-safe turned out not to be. That was the case at New York University's Smilow Research Center, where animal labs underground were inundated and approximately 10,000 research mice and rats drowned and lab equipment was ruined. On the upper floors, precious biological samples and reagents were lost as freezers and refrigerators shut down. Other research institutions in the area fared better.
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It's an honor to receive a postdoctoral fellowship to continue your professional training in an established lab just after getting your PhD; it's even more prestigious to to win a postdoc fellowship to start your own lab research program. Dr. Brad Rosenberg finished the clinical portion of his M.D.-PhD program last year at Weill Cornell Medical Center, having earned his PhD from Rockefeller University through the Tri-Institutional Program two years earlier. This year he is conducting his own research at Rockefeller using advanced high-throughput sequencing techniques to analyze lymphocytes in the immune system.
"High-risk, high-reward" life science research funding isn't something we hear about very often in these days of fiscal belt-tightening, especially coming from the private sector. Fortunately the NIH is still committed to supporting exceptional life science labs that take the road less travelled, with the Director's Transformative Research Awards and the Director's New Innovator Awards, because the potential payoff justifies the gamble taken. The NIH has standard criteria by which they evaluate grant proposals. Realizing that those criteria would enevitably leave out some of the most daring and ground-breaking research, they came up with the High Risk awards. 2012 Director's Awards from the NIH Common Fund (totalling some $155M) have gone to 81 investigators, and 5 of them are faculty members and heads of laboratories at Rockefeller University.
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