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NIH selects Weill Cornell Medical College to lead new NYC translational research collaboration

NEW YORK (Sept. 18, 2007) -- Weill Cornell Medical College has been selected by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to establish and lead a new Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), creating an ambitious and innovative network for biomedical collaboration on New York's Upper East Side. The Center's goal is to facilitate new collaborative research studies that quickly and effectively result in new patient treatments and preventive interventions.

Funded through a prestigious $49 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) -- the largest federal grant ever awarded to Weill Cornell, the CTSC will consist of a unique multidisciplinary collaboration between a diverse group of institutions. Led by Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, the new Center also will encompass the Cornell University Cooperative Extension in New York City (CUCE-NYC); NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC); Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS); Hunter College School of Nursing; The Center for Study of Gene Structure and Function of Hunter College, City University of New York; and an additional six Weill Cornellaffiliated hospitals.

"There is a pressing need for broad-based multidisciplinary collaborations that can fulfill the incredible promise of recent research advances in areas like genetics and bioinformatics, and efficiently translate them into real-world interventions that benefit the community," says Dr. David Skorton, president of Cornell University and professor of medicine and medicine in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College. "As it strives to meet this challenge, the new Clinical and Translational Science Center will also be an integral component of Cornell's commitment to interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration."

"We are honored to be selected as the lead institution for this new biomedical complex, and look forward to working with our neighboring institutions to forge new and far-reaching collaborations in order to meet the government's mandate to energize and transform clinical and translational science," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "Another key benefit of this program will be its role in helping educate the next generation of researchers trained in the complexities of translating research discoveries into clinical trials and ultimately into practice."

Weill Cornell Medical College is already engaged in numerous ongoing multi-institutional collaborations with members of the Clinical and Translational Science Center -- including Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery and Hunter College.

"The Clinical and Translational Science Center will also take creative approaches to translational research, developing and improving tools for analyzing research data and managing research studies," says Dr. David Hajjar, senior executive vice dean and executive vice provost of Weill Cornell Medical College, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and the Frank H.T. Rhodes Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Genetics. "A new Biomedical Research Building, already under development, at Weill Cornell will eventually serve as the hub for this new effort."

"This is the largest federal grant ever awarded to this Medical College; and what is truly noteworthy is the reality of several public and private, world-class institutions working in teams across disciplines to promote translational research," says Dr. Julianne Imperato-McGinley, the Center's principal investigator and program director. "And, all important innovations will be shared by virtue of our active participation on national CTSA steering committees."

An accomplished clinical and translational researcher with more than 25 years of NIH funding, Dr. Imperato-McGinley will also be named the associate dean for educational training and translational research at Weill Cornell. In addition, she is the Abby Rockefeller Mauz Distinguished Professor of Medicine in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

"Together with our collaborator-institutions, we will work toward moving translational research from bench to bedside to community," continues Dr. Imperato-McGinley. "Furthermore, in a process of circular innovation, lessons learned in the community will then be the basis for new research efforts."

An extensive community outreach program, especially for ethnically diverse medically underserved areas, will be an important component of the CTSC initiative. Member institutions, particularly the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, have existing partnerships with key community organizations.

The initiative will target the full range of clinical areas, among them -- cancer, diabetes, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, women's health, reproductive medicine, geriatrics, psychiatry, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, trauma and burns.

Neighboring institutions will contribute significantly to the CTSC: The Hospital for Special Surgery -- one of the most renowned orthopedic hospitals in the U.S. and a leader in investigating musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases -- is one of two medical institutions designated by NIH as a Core Center for Skeletal Integrity. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents one of the world's premier cancer centers where state-of-the-art basic science research flourishes side-by-side with clinical investigation and treatment at Memorial Hospital. Cornell University Cooperative Extension has been engaged in research addressing the needs of a changing New York for over 50 years, and will remain a significant linchpin for community outreach. Hunter College's Gene Center, funded by the Research Center for Minority Institutions Program of NCRR, recruits and nurtures minority talent and has established an effective electronic network with minority scientists nationwide. Hunter College School of Nursing, training nurses from a diverse urban population, participates in community outreach and education in underserved areas.

"Many of our ongoing research projects already address AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and complaint behavior -- all important aspects of clinical translational research. The CTSA will create synergistic programs among these neighboring institutions and complement the efforts of President Jennifer J. Raab to build a new science building at Hunter College," says Dr. Robert Dottin, director of Hunter's Gene Center.

The CTSA initiative grew out of the NIH commitment to re-engineer the clinical research enterprise, one of the key objectives of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Total funding for these new awards will be approximately $577 million over a five-year budget period.


Contact: Jonathan Weil
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

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