Science Market Update

New York Stem Cell Research Initiative Receives Another $50M Gift

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Tue, Apr 24, 2012

Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are not only neighbors along Manhattan's East River Drive, they're research collaborators in the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative (Tri-SCI). Established in 2005 with a gift from the Starr Foundation, that same charitable organization has just committed another $50M to stem cell research at the three adjacent campuses. In addition to funding researchers and laboratory equipment, Tri-SCI provides support for 3 research core facilities for the derivation, characterization and maintenance of current and new human embryonic stem cell lines.

Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University, said this of the renewed gift:

"To realize the full promise of stem cells in regenerative medicine, we need to understand the molecular mechanisms that determine a stem cell's potential to develop into many types of functional cells in the body. As the climate for federal funding of stem cell research remains uncertain, we are grateful to The Starr Foundation for its continued commitment to supporting both existing and exciting new collaborative efforts by stem cell researchers at our three institutions."


The Starr Foundation (est. 1955) and its longtime chairman, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, have contributed substantial amounts to establish research programs, endow professorships, and construct facilities at the three East Side institutions for many years. Some of those contributions include:

  • The Greenberg Pavilion at NY Presbyterian Hospital, dedicated in 1997
  • The Weill Greenberg Center and the Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell
  • The C.V. Starr Biomedical Information Center and C.V. Starr Pavilion at Weill Cornell
  • The Starr Center for Human Genetics at Rockefeller
  • Major funding for The Rockefeller University Hospital
  • The Collaborative Research Center at Rockefeller University
  • Significant contributions to Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian for its Division of Cardiology; genetic medicine program; neurological surgery programs; and molecular neuropharmacology laboratory

The Starr Foundation is clearly pleased with their 2005 investment in the Tri-SCI stem cell program and its accomplishments in the past seven years. Also this year, at the end of January, the Foundation announced similar renewed funding, also in the amount of $50M, for another collaborative medical research venture: the Starr Cancer Consortium (SCC). The SCC includes researchers from the 3 New York institutions that participate in Tri-SCI, plus their colleagues at the Broad Institute (of MIT and Harvard) and Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory.

The British stem cell researcher Jonathan Slack, who is returning to England after heading the Minnesota Stem Cell Institute since 2007, recently compared doing research in the UK and US, saying they were similar but for the fact that the US has stronger philanthropic funding, putting its universities in a privileged position. That couldn't be more true for the medical research and clinical institutions in New York City that benefit from the extreme generosity of foundations and private donors like Starr and Greenburg. With this degree of private support, as well as the commitment by the City of New York to grow its biotech sector, there's no question that in the race to become the next wildly successful bioscience hub, New York is a contender.

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus, life science research tradeshows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country. Twice annually we hold our popular BioResearch Product Faire events on the Rockefeller University Campus in New York City, with attendees coming from the surrounding research institutes, including Weill Cornell and Sloan-Kettering. This year's dates for this popular event are April 26, 2012 (this week!) and October 17, 2012.

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Tags: Rockefeller University, Northeast, Stem cell research, New York, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Funding, New York City, BRPF, charitable giving

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