The University of Rochester is among the first institutions to receive a grant from the New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent (NYFIRST), a $15 million medical school capital funding program through New York State. NYFIRST is designed to encourage recruitment and retention of exceptional life sciences researchers focused on translational research by supporting the establishment or upgrading of their laboratories. The grants were announced this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
With a $1 million grant from this program, the University recruited Paula Vertino, Ph.D., an internationally recognized expert in epigenetics and cancer from Emory University in Atlanta, to serve as Director of Translational Research at the Wilmot Cancer Institute and as the Wilmot Distinguished Professor in Cancer Genomics.
“Translational science is essential for moving laboratory discoveries into new technologies and treatments for patients, and we thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for supporting this work through NYFIRST,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. “This grant has allowed us to bring accomplished scientist and Buffalo native Paula Vertino back to upstate New York and to attract three additional researchers here from across the country.”
The three additional faculty who have joined Vertino in Biomedical Genetics are Brian Altman, Ph.D., from the Wistar Institute, who studies the circadian clock and cancer metabolism; Stefano Mello, Ph.D., from Stanford University, who studies non-coding RNAs and tumor initiation; and Patrick Murphy, Ph.D., from the University of Utah, who studies the epigenetics of cell state transitions.
“Not only will this investment in science yield new jobs, it will also bring new insights that will accelerate the progress against cancer,” Taubman said.