Brain and Mind Symposium: May 13-14
Historically, neuroscientists have taken one of two approaches to the complex problem of understanding the biological mechanisms that account for mental activity: reductionist or holistic. Reductionist, or bottom-up, approaches attempt to analyze the nervous system in terms of its elementary components, by examining one molecule, one cell, or one circuit at a time. Holistic, or top-down approaches, focus on mental functions in alert behaving human beings and in experimentally accessible animals and attempt to relate these behaviors to the higher-order features of large systems of neurons.
A two-day symposium, "Brain and Mind," in May will help outline the accomplishments and limitations of these two approaches in attempts to delineate the problems that still confront neuroscience. The symposium is a C250 Symposium, part of Columbia's celebration of its 250th anniversary. The symposium will be May 13 and 14 in the Miller Theater on the Morningside campus.
The morning program on May 13 will focus on brain structure, exploring how neural circuits are assembled during development to permit individuals to perceive the world around them and to recall and act on the memory of perception.
May 13's afternoon program is about brain function and disease. Speakers will illustrate some biological underpinnings of our emotional life and how the regulation of emotion, thought, and action goes awry in such diseases as depression, mania, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's.
The half-day program on May 14 is titled "Biology of Mind" and combines modern cognitive psychology with brain imaging to consider directly addressing higher-order functions of the brain in normal subjects and to study in detail the nature of internal representations.
The symposium is being organized by Tom Jessell, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at P&S, and Joanna Rubinstein, senior associate dean for institutional and global initiatives at the medical center.
Scheduled to speak are Nobel Prize Laureates Roderick MacKinnon from Rockefeller University and Eric Kandel from Columbia; Judith L. Rapoport, National Institute of Mental Health; Huda Y. Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; Michael Rutter, King's College in London; Nora D. Volkow, National Institute of Drug Abuse; Nancy Kanwisher, MIT; William T. Newsome, Stanford University; Christof Koch, California Institute of Technology; John R. Searle, University of California at Berkeley; and Columbia's Richard Axel, Tom Jessell, and Gerald Fischbach.
Visit the C250 Web site at http://c250.columbia.edu/ for more information and to register for the symposium.
|FROM LEFT: HATTIE ALEXANDER, VIRGINIA APGAR, VIRGINIA FRANTZ, DOROTHY ANDERSEN
Women in Medical Center History
ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AT THE AUGUSTUS C. LONG Health Sciences Library has opened an exhibit on "Women Pioneers in Medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian" on the library's lobby level. The exhibit runs through May 21.
Though Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician of modern times, obtained her medical degree in 1849, American medicine remained an overwhelmingly male preserve well into the 20th century. "Most U.S. medical schools were co-educational by the 1920s, but social expectations and professional resistance retarded the entry of women into medicine and slowed their advancement once they began practicing," says Stephen E. Novak, head of Archives & Special Collections, who curated the exhibit.
All the more remarkable, then, that so many women in the first half-century of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center attained such distinction, he adds. They were predominantly in fields seen as more "fitting" for women pathology, pediatrics and psychiatry among them and were more often researchers than clinicians. "These women thoroughly rebuked the notion that females were incapable of distinguished achievement in medicine," Mr. Novak adds.
Among those featured in the exhibit are Dorothy Andersen, who did groundbreaking research in cystic fibrosis; Hattie Alexander, who developed the first successful treatment of influenzal meningitis in infants; Virginia Kneeland Frantz, one of the relatively few women to make a career in surgery during this period; and the renowned Virginia Apgar, who originated the Apgar Score for evaluating the viability of newborns.
Photographs, awards, original scientific papers, and memorabilia illustrate the careers of these women.
|Campaign for Diversity
THE P&S ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HAS LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN for Diversity to raise funds to support minority students. The campaign is led by a committee of 18 prominent minority physicians and academic medicine leaders, nearly all P&S graduates.
About 20 percent of all P&S students pay the entire cost of their tuition. The remainder are supported through scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans. The average debt for a four-year medical student will total more than $110,000, and the student will pay back two to three dollars for every dollar borrowed. Because medical students undergo long postgraduate training at modest salaries, their educational debt will grow significantly before repayment begins.
The three-year Campaign for Diversity has set a $10 million goal. Full tuition assistance will be offered to minority students who do not have the means to sustain the financial burden of medical school. "The escalating cost of a medical school education is having a devastating effect on minority students considering
|a career in medicine, not to mention the backlash on the communities we serve," says Dr. Brenda Aiken, P&S Class of 1981 and campaign chair.
Members of the Campaign for Diversity Committee are Brenda Aiken'81, Lester Blair'74, Carol Brown'86, Samuel Daniel'78, Ingrid Fitz-James'77, Kenneth Forde'59, Mindy Fullilove'78, Margaret Haynes, Ed.D., Kimberly Joseph'87, Shearwood McClelland'74, Donna Mendes'77, Susan Morales'86, Maria Oquendo'84, Carmen Ortiz-Neu'63, Paula Randolph'83, Carlos Rodriguez'96, Yvonne Thornton'73, and Hueldine Webb'77.
The campaign launched a mentoring program last fall to match P&S minority students with alumni of the P&S chapter of BALSO, the Black and Latino Student Organization. The program builds a network of positive role models for minority students, secures a community of mentors interested in the development of minority students, establishes personal relationships that will enhance academic and social development for minority students, and encourages students to establish a community that contributes culturally to the university. The program has 19 students involved.
|P&S Rugby Wins in National Tournament
The P&S Rugby Football Team won the medical school division competition at a tournament in New Orleans Feb. 13-14. This was the first year medical schools from across the United States were invited to compete. The 25 players who attended the tournament, called the New Orleans Rugby Mardi Gras Classic, received a trophy and a declaration from the New Orleans City Council.
|Marcel Brus-Ramer, M.D./Ph.D. student with the New Orleans rugby tournament trophy
It was the P&S team's first match since November, when it won again the John Wood Memorial Tournament, hosted by P&S each year for New York medical school rugby teams. The tournament is named for the 1976 P&S graduate (and rugby player) who was murdered near campus in 1981 during his residency at Presbyterian Hospital.
Saral Mehra'06, president of the P&S Rugby Football Team, says 16 teams, including a team from Canada and a team from England, competed in the tournament's four divisions (college, club, medical school, old boys).
Mr. Mehra's play by play of the medical division: Tulane University's medical school beat Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences from Bethesda, Md., 5-0. P&S beat Tulane, 5-0, then Uniformed Services, 24-0.
"We hope to help expand the breadth of the tournament in the coming years," says Mr. Mehra.
|Go Ahead: Google Us
P&S Journal has been available online since the Spring 1994 issue, but some of the online issues are available only as PDF files. Until recently, finding content in those issues meant opening each issue and searching within each PDF.
Now that the Columbia University Medical Center Web site has a Google search engine, you can find content in both traditional Web formats and PDFs through a single search. For example, a search for information on Douglas Damrosch, a well-regarded pediatrician from the famed "McIntosh Era" of Babies Hospital, would identify the Fall 2001 issue of P&S, where Dr. Damrosch is profiled. Once you're in the Fall 2001 PDF, you still need to do a "find" search within the issue, but at least you're in the right issue.
The Google search engine was installed in December 2003. CUMC Google enables users to search 50,000 CUMC pages, with capacity for 250,000 more as documents are added. Content within PDFs, files, spreadsheets, and Word documents can be searched. The CUMC home page (http://www.cumc.columbia.edu) has a search window at the upper right. The search engine is also available on many of the Web site's pages.
Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia
LIKE THE MACARTHUR "GENIUS GRANTS," RECIPIENTS OF KAVLI Foundation recognition and support are identified through reputation and potential. The foundation does not award grants, nor does it respond to unsolicited proposals. Participation in Kavli Foundation programs is by invitation only.
And that invitation was accepted in March, when the Kavli Foundation announced a $7.5 million award to establish a Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University Medical Center under the leadership of Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, University Professor of Psychiatry, Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics.
The Columbia institute will be one of only nine Kavli Institutes internationally in the areas of neuroscience, cosmology, and nanoscience. The Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University will focus on the development of novel experimental and computational strategies for analyzing and deciphering how signaling in neural circuits controls behavior.
"Our work will be directed toward developing more powerful tools to enable us to move from the study of individual nerve cells to that of complex neural systems which underlie the higher mental function," says Dr. Kandel, co-recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
For decades, Columbia University has been a leader in advancing the neurosciences. Neural science at Columbia has succeeded in forging into one discipline the previously distinct fields of cell biology, physiology, and development of the nervous system with molecular biology, including molecular genetics. Recently, Columbia also successfully unified this cell and molecular approach to the brain with systems neural science and cognitive psychology.
"Many of us believe that studying neural circuits of interconnected cells, rather than one cell at a time, will reveal the secret of disordered brain function," says Dr. Gerald D, Fischbach, executive vice president and dean. "The Kavli Institute will spearhead neuroscience as a priority in our strategic planning."
The directorship of the Institute is chosen for a five-year term by the dean of the Faculty of Medicine in consultation with the president of the University and the faculty of the Kavli Institute. Co-directors with Dr. Kandel are Dr. Thomas Jessell, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at P&S, and Dr. Rafael Yuste, associate professor of biological sciences at the Morningside campus. Dr. Jessell has pioneered the molecular study of brain development, and Dr. Yuste is a leader in developing new imaging techniques to visualize the activity of complex neural circuitry.
Based in Oxnard, Calif., the Kavli Foundation was established in 2000 by Norwegian-born founder and benefactor Fred Kavli to advance science for the benefit of humanity and to promote increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work. The foundation focuses its activities on three areas: cosmology, life sciences with emphasis on understanding the nature and evolution of life and the human being, and nanotechnology with initial emphasis on bionanotechnology.
The other eight Kavli Institutes are located at Stanford (particle astrophysics & cosmology), University of California at San Diego (brain & mind), University of California at Santa Barbara (theoretical physics), Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (nanoscience), Yale (neuroscience), Cornell (nanoscale science), California Institute of Technology (nanoscience), and University of Chicago (cosmological physics).
An Expanding Campus
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY A DECADE FROM NOW IS UNLIKELY TO physically resemble today's Columbia from both medical center and Morningside campus perspectives. As Columbia continues its plan to expand research and academic facilities into Manhattanville in West Harlem, the Columbia community will continue to hear details of progress through information sessions about the Manhattanville expansion.
The university's continued growth has necessitated the development of about 1 million square feet since 1994, but Columbia does not have enough space available for development within the existing medical center and Morningside campuses or through the development of nearby university-owned properties to sustain even a fraction of this growth rate.
Columbia has owned property in Manhattanville for decades. It owns or leases about one-third of the 20-acre area located between the Morningside campus and the CUMC campus. The area roughly extends from West 125th Street to West 133rd Street and from Broadway to 12th Avenue. The area, currently zoned for industrial use, consists of buildings reflecting this zoning, such as warehouses and auto service stations. The area has experienced an employment decline of more than 40 percent since 1984.
Columbia has established a community advisory committee to enable an ongoing dialogue with community members about their concerns and interests and has hosted a number of open neighborhood forums. A faculty advisory committee has been established to address research and academic needs. Meetings have been held with elected officials and leaders in the area, local community boards, and civic associations.
Columbia anticipates that the proposed full development of Manhattanville would generate more than $1 billion in New York City revenues annually and employ thousands of workers to design and build the facilities.
Pending the approval of the proposed development, approximately 1 million square feet of new and renovated space could be complete within 10 years.
For the medical center, the Manhattanville project has the potential to provide much-needed research and teaching space.
Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean, is cochairing a committee with Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley to plan new science ventures for Manhattanville. "This provides an unparalleled opportunity for uptown/downtown collaboration. As the life sciences grow and evolve, we will develop even closer ties to the main campus. We at the medical center must step up and help define new projects and new roles," says Dr. Fischbach.
This year's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize was given to Roderick MacKinnon, 2003 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, professor of molecular neurobiology and biophysics at Rockefeller University, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Dr. MacKinnon was honored for his studies of ion channels. His work has major ramifications for the mechanisms active in many diseases, including conditions related to the heart, muscles, nervous system, and endocrine system.
The topic of Dr. MacKinnon's Horwitz Prize lecture in February was "The Atomic Basis of Selective Ion Conduction in Potassium Channels."
The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, awarded annually since 1967, recognizes accomplishments in biological and biochemical research. The prize was named for the mother of Columbia benefactor S. Gross Horwitz. Mrs. Horwitz was the daughter of former American Medical Association president Dr. Samuel David Gross.
Pollin Prize Goes to Leukemia Researchers
|Pollin Prize recipients, clockwise from top left: Donald Pinkel, Emil Freireich, James Holland'47, and Emil Frei
The second annual Pollin Prize in Pediatric Research was presented in December 2003 to four researchers who contributed landmark advances to the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
The Pollin Prize, the sole international award for advances in children's health care, was awarded to Donald Pinkel, adjunct professor of biological sciences at California Polytechnic State University, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California, and professor emeritus at the University of Texas; Emil Freireich, professor of medicine and laboratory medicine and director of the Adult Leukemia Research Program at the University of Texas; James Holland, Distinguished Professor of Neoplastic Diseases at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York (and a 1947 P&S graduate); and Emil Frei, physician-in-chief emeritus at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
The Pollin Prize in Pediatric Research was established by philanthropists Abe and Irene Pollin and is funded by the Linda and Kenneth Pollin Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in pediatric biomedical or public health research. The prize is administered by New York-Presbyterian Hospital and coordinated by Dr. Rudolph Leibel, professor of pediatrics and medicine at P&S and chairman of the panel that selects the prize recipients.
The prize consists of a $100,000 award to the recipients and a $100,000 fellowship stipend assigned by the recipients to a young investigator working in a related area of research.
Center Recognizes Partnerships
A PROGRAM THAT OFFERS PRIMARY CARE AND DENTAL SERVICES to public school students in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem received a new award, the "Partnerships Make a Difference Award," in February in recognition of the positive results of academic-community partnerships.
The Center for Community Health Partnerships at the medical center and the Northern Manhattan Community Voices Collaborative presented the award at a ceremony that included a seminar on the school programs.
The school-based health center program is a collaboration between the Mailman School of Public Health's Center for Community Health Education and the School of Dental and Oral Surgery's Community Dentcare Network. "The outcome of these partnerships is dramatic," says Dr. Allan J. Formicola, vice dean for the Center for Community Health Partnerships. "In this case, thousands of students who would otherwise face multiple barriers to medical and dental health services have immediate access in their schools to the care they need."
The Mailman School's program in conjunction with New York-Presbyterian Hospital operates five school-based health clinics that provide more than 7,000 students, ages 11-18, with on-site access to comprehensive primary care services, including mental health, reproductive health, and health education. The School of Dental and Oral Surgery's Community Dentcare Network operates eight school-based dental programs and provides students, ages 5-14, with critical preventive oral health services and treatment. Last year, the program recorded more than 10,000 school-based visits.
The seminar addressed the history, challenges, and achievements of the school clinics. Speakers were Lorraine Tiezzi, director of the Center for Community Health and Education and associate clinical professor at the Mailman School; Stephen Marshall, associate dean of extramural affairs at the School of Dental and Oral Surgery and director of the Community Dentcare Network; and Phyllis Casolaro Williams, principal of JHS 143 Eleanor Roosevelt.
Dr. Thomas Morris, chairman of the advisory committee for the Center for Community Health Partnerships, presented awards to Ms. Tiezzi, Dr. Marshall, Mrs. Casolaro Williams and several public school principals: Boma Jack, Bread & Roses Integrated; Dr. Sandye P. Johnson, Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change; Harris Marmor, George Washington High School, School of Health Careers & Science; Dr. Peter L. McFarland, PS 180 Hugo Newman; Francesca Pena, George Washington High School, School of International Business and Finance; Nicholas Politis, George Washington High School, School of Law & Public Service; Lavern Rein, JHS 164 Edward W. Stitt; Jose Rivera, JHS 52 Inwood; and Janet Saraceno, George Washington High School, School of Media & Communications.