Teamwork Pays Off

stem cells rendering

Handy Gelbard, Steve Dewhurst, Burns Blaxall

Striking up unique collaborations, both among researchers and with funding organizations, has been key to our success. In just the past year, support from the Empire State Stem Cell Board made possible two exciting advances. Researchers used stem-cell technology to make a key finding that could boost the effectiveness of half the drugs used in patients today, including medications to treat cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In a second project, scientists improved upon their already-world’s-best efforts to pluck out just the right stem cells to address the difficulty at the core of multiple sclerosis as well as a number of fatal children’s illnesses.

It’s especially gratifying when such research comes to fruition and helps people. Such is the case with the research done by our scientists who helped develop the HPV vaccine, which now protects millions of women from cervical cancer. This year, our scientists were recognized with an important U.S. patent for the research at the core of the vaccine. The year also saw the licensing of important technology from Flaum Eye Institute that can improve eyesight to a quality once thought impossible, and a patent for work by our cardiologists on a “living chip” that could revolutionize the way that physicians monitor the health of their patients.

In 2011 our faculty was recognized for excellence as well. Most notably, Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences for her studies of an important method that the body uses to maintain the integrity of its proteins. Among other honors, Karl Kieburtz, M.D., and Kim Tieu, Ph.D., based on their research, were included in an analysis of the world’s top Parkinson’s researchers.