|Regaining New Yorks Lead in Medical Research
New York has many renowned medical schools and hospitals that at one time made New York the nations leader in medical research and funding. Three major projects in the city share the goal of returning New York to that leadership status: the Mayors Task Force on Biomedical Research and Development, AMDeC, and the New York Structural Biology Center.
Other regions in the United States have worked together and succeeded in surpassing New York in research funding, particularly in grants from the National Institutes of Health. That kind of collaboration was the focus of a speech delivered Dec. 8 by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the Russ Berrie Pavilion Conference Center, where the mayor announced his special task force.
New York used to be the nations unrivaled leader in biomedical research, attracting 15.1 percent of all NIH funding back in 1981, Mr. Giuliani said. Today, were no longer first. We rank third.
Dr. Herbert Pardes, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Faculty of Medicine, is a member of the task force. Biomedical research is one of the strongest areas of opportunity for attracting funding, founding new biotechnology companies, creating jobs, and stimulating the citys economy, while simultaneously producing the major new scientific discoveries that will lead to revolutionary lifesaving treatments, he says in praise of the mayors task force. Although Columbia has experienced growth in this area, Dr. Pardes cited the Universitys success as an exception to a downward trend in the region over the past 15 years.
The task force has been asked to make recommendations to the mayor on how New York can strengthen and improve its standing in biomedical research and technology.
After being launched with a handful of supporting medical centers, AMDeCs membership has expanded and taken on new goals in addition to its original mission, such as the New York Cancer Project. The cancer project calls on the citys combined medical resources and its population to establish unprecedented experimentation along with a related database shared by all of AMDeCs member institutions.
New York Structural Biology Center
The center will be housed in a building provided to the Partnership by City College of New York. Located on the schools campus at 131st Street and Convent Avenue, it will make available state-of-the-art technological advances in the field of biological research.
Dr. Ann McDermott, professor of chemistry and biological sciences, is one of the scientists representing Columbia in this project. She will rely on this technology for her work with membrane imbedded proteins. Very little is known about the structures, and especially the dynamics, of intrinsic membrane proteins, she explains. With the instrumentation I currently have, this project is unfeasible. Dr. McDermott hopes the magnetic resonance technology planned for the center will make her work possible.
I think this center will have a big impact on city-wide cooperation in our field. I think it will eventually make New York City a more visible place for structural biology.