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James E. Rothman, one of the world's leading cell biologists, has joined P&S to help establish a new Center for Chemical Biology. Dr. Rothman, professor in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, is renowned for his research into the mechanisms underlying transport within cells. He was the 2002 winner of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and Columbia's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, both widely considered predictors of Nobel Prize winners.

"Dr. Rothman's research has been fundamental to the advancement of cell biology, and his presence here will greatly benefit the entire community," says Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean. "The faculty of medicine and the departments of chemistry and biology have identified chemical biology as among their top research priorities. It is likely, therefore, that the center will evolve into a university-wide initiative. Jim's leadership at the interface between academia and industry will be instrumental in helping us translate basic scientific discoveries into new therapeutics. His extraordinary experience also will help in the development of biotechnology enterprises in New York City."

Dr. Rothman began his career at Stanford in 1978. He was at Princeton from 1988 to 1991, before coming to New York to found the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he also served as vice chairman of the Sloan-Kettering Institute. His award-winning research details how vesicles – tiny sac-like structures that transport hormones, growth factors, and other molecules within cells – know how to reach their correct destination and where and when to release their contents. This cellular trafficking underlies many critical physiological functions, including the propagation of the cell itself in division, communication between nerve cells in the brain, secretion of insulin and other hormones in the body, and nutrient uptake. Defects in this process lead to a variety of conditions, including diabetes and bacterial diseases such as botulism.

Sandra Harris has served as executive director of the Northern Manhattan Community Voices Collaborative since 1998. The collaborative, led by the School of Dental and Oral Surgery in partnership with the Mailman School of Public Health, Harlem Hospital Center and Alianza Dominicana, works to improve the overall health of Washington Heights-Inwood and central Harlem residents. Ms. Harris assumed her new post in government and community affairs in April.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?

I hope to bring much of what I've learned from Community Voices to my new position at government and community affairs. I discovered that many northern Manhattan residents do not know how to access healthcare for themselves and their children. A large part of the community is relatively new to this country and the concept of health insurance is foreign to them. Educating the patient, then, is very important. But providers also need to learn more about their patients' culture and how culture impacts health care delivery.

How can Health Sciences enhance its community outreach efforts?

All four schools need to showcase their best practices. I've visited other health care institutions and found many are very good at telling their story to the communities they serve. We need to improve how we're perceived by the community and let people know what we have to offer. We need to continue to strengthen our linkages with community leaders and civic groups. It comes down to knowing how to best meet the needs of the people we serve in northern Manhattan. Too many people are not tapping into our resources. It's my role to get out and engage the community, to be a channel for letting them know what's available to them throughout Health Sciences.

Parkinson's Foundation Honors Columbia

Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; Herbert Pardes, president and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; and John Castle, chairman, Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital trustee, were honored at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's annual fund-raising gala, Bal du Printemps, at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan May 22. Pictured from left are Morley Safer of "60 Minutes"; Dr. Timothy Pedley, chairman, neurology; Mr. Castle; Dr. Pardes; Dr. Fischbach; and Dr. Lewis Rowland, professor of neurology and president of the foundation.

Mahoney Center Gets New Facility

The David Mahoney Center for Brain and Behavior Research celebrated the opening of its newly completed facility on the fifth floor of the New York State Psychiatric Institute Kolb Annex on May 19. Following a symposium in the auditorium, Hillie Mahoney, widow of David Mahoney, former chairman and CEO of the Dana Foundation, which funded the creation of the center, cut the ribbon to inaugurate the new facility. Joining her are, from left, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean, and Dr. Michael Goldberg, the David Mahoney Professor of Brain and Behavior in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Inwood Library Receives Columbia Funding

Judith Rodriguez, center, branch manager for the New York Public Library's Inwood branch, accepts the Donald F. Tapley Award at the Neighborhood Fund Awards in the medical center garden in May. The award provides assistance to the library in purchasing new science books for children. Presenting the award to Ms. Rodriguez are Jean Armitage, director of development constituent strategy, and Charles Olmstead, director of operations for the Allen Pavilion.

Celiac Disease Center Celebrates First Anniversary

Peter Green, clinical professor of medicine and director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, left, joins guest of honor, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, to celebrate the center's first anniversary fund-raiser at the Agora Gallery in SoHo in May. The event raised more than $125,000 for the center.

Urology Celebrates 75th Anniversary

John Lattimer, chairman emeritus of the Department of Urology, right, speaks with Jose Contreras, associate professor of urology, at the 75th anniversary celebration of the department at its Irving Pavilion facility on May 7. A graduate of P&S, Dr. Lattimer continued his medical training at the Squier Urological Clinic at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was named professor and chairman of urology and director of the clinic in 1955 at age 39. He remained at this post until his retirement in 1980.

Employees Take Time for Health

Reiki practitioners treat faculty and staff from Health Sciences and New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Employee Health and Wellness Day in the Milstein Hospital Building on May 23. Reiki was one of many fitness, meditation and healing classes, seminars and workshops offered at the event. On May 25, Columbia, in collaboration with the local community board and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, presented Take Time for Health Day, a fair on St. Nicholas Avenue that featured medical screenings, children's activities, and an appearance by Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.

George Gasparis has been appointed executive director of Human Subject Protection and assistant vice president and senior assistant dean for research ethics at Health Sciences. Mr. Gasparis was most recently director of the Division of Assurances and Quality Improvement in the Office of Human Research Protection in the Department of Health and Human Services. He has also held senior positions in the Office of Protection from Research Risks at the National Institutes of Health and at George Washington University Medical Center as director of the Office of Human Research.

Barron Lerner, the Angelica Berrie-Gold Foundation Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health, has been appointed program director in medical ethics education in the Center for the Study of Society and Medicine. Dr. Lerner has organized numerous teaching initiatives in bioethics and the medical humanities at Columbia.

Dr. Lerner's book, "The Breast Cancer Wars," now out in paperback, has won several awards including the American Library Association Most Notable Book of 2001 (1 of 26); Booklist Top Ten Book on Health and Medicine for 2001 and the Washington Irving Book Award of the Westchester Library Association.

Vincent Freda, clinical professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, died May 7. Dr. Freda received his undergraduate degree from Columbia in 1948 and was a member of the P&S faculty from the 1960s to the 1990s. In 1959, Dr. Freda was the first physician in the country to perform amniocentesis and five years later became the first in the world to perform surgery on a fetus. He led the research team that developed Rhogam, the antibody that enables women with Rh-negative blood to deliver healthy Rh-positive babies. Dr. Freda received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 1980. He was honored with a fellowship in his name for perinatology research in 2000.

Raffaele Lattes, professor emeritus of pathology, died May 28. Dr. Lattes received a Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia in 1946. He was professor of surgery and then professor of surgical pathology at Columbia and continued to serve for many years after his retirement in 1978. Dr. Lattes was one of the foremost experts of his generation in surgical pathology and mentor for many of today's leaders in the field. His work on the pathology of soft tissue tumors contributed to scientific knowledge and the treatment of human cancers.

Richard Axel and Wayne Hendrickson, professors of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and investigators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, are recipients of Gairdner International Awards recognizing the outstanding contributions of their research to health care. Dr. Axel, along with a former fellow, Dr. Linda Buck, were recognized for their work in odor recognition and the neural circuits engaged in odor discrimination. Dr. Hendrickson was recognized for determining the structure of a key molecule that the AIDS virus uses to attach to human immune cells during infection. They each will receive an award of approximately $22,000 at an award dinner this October in Toronto.

Louis Cooper, professor of pediatrics, has been elected chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center for Child Health Research of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dickson Despommier, professor of microbiology at P&S and of environmental health sciences at Mailman, was named the 2003 winner of the American Medical Student Association's National Golden Apple for Teaching Excellence Award. The student-nominated award recognizes contributions to excellence in medical education.

Aaron Mitchell, P&S professor of microbiology, has been elected to a fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The honor recognizes excellence, originality, and creativity in subspecialties of microbiology.

Edward Shortliffe, professor and chairman of biomedical informatics, was inducted as a Master of the American College of Physicians at its annual session April 3. The designation recognizes physicians, selected from among fellows of the college, who exhibit pre-eminence in practice or medical research or make significant contributions to medical science.

Mailman Faculty Receive Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Awards Mailman School of Public Health faculty members represent five out of the 16 scholars selected nationally by the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as this year's recipients of Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research for their contributions in improving health and health policy. The National Investigator Award recipients will receive funding for projects that address some of the most challenging policy issues and concerns about the nation's health and healthcare system. This year's award recipients from the Mailman School are: Mary Clare Lennon, associate professor and senior research fellow at the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), J. Lawrence Aber, professor and director of NCCP; David Rosner, professor of sociomedical sciences and history and director of the Center for History and Ethics of Public Health; Gerald Markowitz, adjunct professor at the Mailman School and professor of history at the City University of New York's John Jay College; and Michael Sparer, associate professor of health policy and management. Details of the project are available on the Investigator Awards Web site at