Medical Center Receives $3 Million Grant from New York State To Help Establish New Medical Research Institute

January 26, 1999

The University of Rochester Medical Center has received a $3 million grant from New York State to help establish a new research institute that will be part of the Medical Center. The grant was announced today in Albany by Governor George E. Pataki.

The new research institute, which will be named the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences, is the centerpiece of a ten-year, $400 million plan to dramatically expand the medical research program at the University. Approximately 70 medical scientists and 400 technicians and support personnel will be hired for the Institute, which will complement the Medical Center’s existing research programs. The expansion represents the largest recruitment effort at the University since the School of Medicine and Dentistry was founded in 1924.

"The establishment of the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences is a milestone for the Medical Center and for the Rochester community," said Jay H. Stein, M.D., senior vice president and vice provost for Health Affairs at the University of Rochester and chief executive officer of the Medical Center. "The Institute will help us attract some of the world’s top medical talent to Rochester, which will improve our ability to provide the best medical care to the people of Rochester and Western New York."

"We’re delighted that the Governor has taken the lead in securing this initial funding," said Stein. "This is a tremendous first step, and we’re looking forward to working with the Governor and our legislative delegation to secure additional State funding as we proceed."

About the Research Institute

The Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences will be located in a new, four-story, 240,000-square-foot building that is under construction at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Lattimore Road, at the West end of the Medical Center campus. The building is scheduled to be completed in July 1999.

The Institute will consist of six research centers, each dedicated to a specific area of medical research. They are:

  • The Center for Aging and Developmental Biology
  • The Center for Cancer Biology
  • The Center for Cardiovascular Research
  • The Center for Human Genetics and Molecular Pediatric Diseases
  • The Center for Oral Biology
  • The Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology

Each center will consist of a "cluster" of eight to 12 scientists and physicians supported by approximately 25 to 40 technicians and staff. Five prominent scientists have been selected to lead centers within the Institute (see attached backgrounder), and a nation-wide recruiting effort is underway to attract dozens of other scientists to Rochester.

In each of the Institute’s research centers, scientists will be engaged in a two-part research strategy. First, they will study the workings of the human body at the most basic level – that of molecules and genes – to learn how the body’s normal function is sabotaged by diseases – such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and AIDS. Then, with a clearer understanding of the mechanisms by which diseases attack the body, the scientists will attempt to devise new approaches to treat the diseases – or to prevent them from striking altogether.

Benefits to the Community

The Medical Center is working aggressively to recruit some of the nation’s top physicians and scientists to staff the new research institute – an endeavor that has important implications for the health of the community.

"The Institute will give people in Rochester access to some of the nation’s foremost experts in a variety of medical specialties – including aging, heart disease, cancer, pediatrics, dentistry, and infectious diseases," said Stein. "We’re building on an outstanding core of talent that already exists at the Medical Center in these fields. The result will be a world-class powerhouse of medical expertise here in Rochester."

In addition, new treatments that are developed in the research institute will likely be available to people in the Rochester area first – in some cases years before those treatments are made available at most hospitals around the nation.

"New treatments for diseases are what draw patients to the nation’s top medical centers," said Stein. "Many hospitals provide excellent medical care. But the medical centers that are ranked as the nation’s best – such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard – are the ones that have solid research programs that find new and better ways to fight disease. The development of our research institute moves the University of Rochester a step closer toward a place among those medical centers."

In addition to bringing new medical expertise to Rochester, the development of the research institute will contribute substantially to the Rochester economy. The research institute will create 250 high-skill jobs at the Medical Center. According to a study conducted last year by the Center for Governmental Research, Inc., the research institute will contribute $52 million annually to the local economy by 2001, and $75 million annually by 2006. Construction of the building which will house the research institute will generate $40 million in labor compensation to area workers.

For Media Inquiries:
Christopher DiFrancesco
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