Developmental Biology
Medical Technology
Research Briefs
Around & About
Point of View

Advanced Labor and Delivery Unit Dedicated

The Carmen and John Thain Labor and Delivery Unit at the Sloane Hospital for Women was dedicated Jan. 21 at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. The new unit has 10 labor and delivery rooms, six high-risk antepartum beds, three state-of-the-art operating rooms, a private consultation room, waiting and changing areas, and triage and recovery units. The next phase will include the renovation of the antepartum and postpartum units and the opening of the Center for Prenatal Pediatrics. Speakers included Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; Mary D'Alton, Willard C. Rappleye Professor and chairwoman of obstetrics and gynecology; Richard Levine, clinical professor and vice chairman, strategic planning and development, obstetrics and gynecology; Herbert Pardes, president and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Cynthia Sparer, executive director, Children's Hospital, and senior vice president and chief operating officer, Women's, Children's and Community Health Services, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Ellen Jewett, chair, Sloane Advisory Committee; and Carmen and John Thain, philanthropists.

Campus Fitness Program Kicks Off

CUMC and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital launched "Be Fit To Be'ne'fit," an outreach initiative designed to promote healthy lifestyle changes among the center's staff and students. The campaign kicked off with an opening ceremony on Jan. 7 at the Milstein Hospital Building and an hour-long power walk on campus Jan. 8. The program will continue throughout the year to establish a more nutrition- and fitness-friendly campus. Pictured at the opening ceremony are Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, senior associate dean, speaking, and Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition, professor of pediatrics and director of the Institute for Human Nutrition.

Bollinger Visits Mailman African Health Program

Columbia President Lee Bollinger toured government health facilities in Ghana where Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health has been active. The Mailman School's Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) program, currently active in 43 countries, and its local partner in Ghana — the Regional Prevention of Maternal Mortality (RPMM) Network — are working to improve the availability, quality, and utilization of emergency obstetric care. Since AMDD's inception in 1999, the program has built a global network of organizations (with partners UNICEF, CARE, United Nations Population Fund, Save the Children, and RPMM), to greatly reduce the number of deaths in resource-poor countries from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Mr. Bollinger toured the health facilities as part of a trip Jan. 7 to 13 to Ghana and West Africa. He met with Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor and other members of the government following President Kufuor's visit to Columbia in September 2003. In Ghana, Mr. Bollinger explored ways to enhance health care and other collaborative efforts already under way in the region.

(Above) Mr. Bollinger, center, and his wife, Jean Magnano Bollinger, greet Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor.

New Database Serves Global Health Community

A new Web database, Columbia's Global Health Online Directory, consolidates and facilitates access to information about the university's global health-related programs and resources around the world. The database, accessible to the Columbia community and external users, contains projects and programs in global health education, research, and treatment that involve Columbia faculty, staff, and students. It is searchable by project subject and type, the name of the project leader, geographic location, and funding source.

The directory's index of more than 400 projects is expected to grow as more Columbia participants provide data on their global health-related work. (Information on contributing appears on the site.) Other features of the site include daily news feeds and a calendar of related events at Columbia.

The directory is designed and implemented by Columbia's Digital Knowledge Ventures, with the contributions of faculty and administrators at Columbia University Medical Center (including the Mailman School of Public Health), the Earth Institute, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Social Work, and the Graduate School of Journalism.

Visit the Global Health Online Directory at

Louis Bigliani, the Frank E. Stinchfield Professor and Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Dr. Bigliani was honored for outstanding contributions to arthritis treatment, including surgery for arthritis disorders of the shoulder joint. The award also recognizes his involvement with the foundation, including his work as a member of the orthopedic fellowship committee.

The Department of Ophthalmology received a gift from the James and Cecilia Tse Ying Foundation to endow a new professorship, the K.K. Tse and Ku Teh Ying Professorship in Ophthalmology. The professorship commemorates Mrs. Ying's parents, Mr. and Mrs. K.K. Tse. Dr. Stanley Chang, Edward S. Harkness Professor and chairman of ophthalmology, a close friend of the family, provided care for Mr. and Mrs. Tse during their final years. Dr. Chang has also been honored as the inaugural appointee of the Ying Professorship.

The Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has been awarded a two-year, $270,000 planning grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health to help establish a center for traditional Chinese medicine and women's health at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Led by primary investigator Dr. Fredi Kronenberg, director of the Rosenthal Center and professor of clinical physiology in rehabilitation medicine, the center's researchers will investigate the use of Chinese medical practices — working in the environments where these approaches originated — to treat a number of women's health conditions, including menopause, infertility, endometriosis, and painful menstruation.

The School of Nursing has received a $250,000 gift from the Hearst Foundation to establish the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship Fund for students in its Entry-to-Practice Program.

A Stuyvesant High School senior, Yin Li, who worked in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel, University Professor in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, won a top prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Math, Science and Technology competition. Mr. Li worked with Dr. Martin Theis, postdoctoral fellow, researching nerve cell activity in mice to understand memory functions. The results of Mr. Li's research suggest that local protein synthesis is likely to be a critical element in human brain function.

Three Researchers Receive Neural Cell Grant

Dr. James M. Angelastro, assistant professor of clinical pathology; Dr. Thomas F. Franke, assistant professor of pharmacology; and Dr. Stephen H. Tsang, assistant professor of ophthalmology, have been named Spitzer Neural Stem Cell grant recipients for 2004. They will receive $50,000 from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Fund for Cell and Genetic Therapy, established with an $8 million gift to Columbia University Medical Center two years ago to support research projects and programs that work toward new stem cell therapies for Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.

Dr. Angelastro's research will focus on increasing the number of neural precursors required for differentiation to neurons that could replace damaged nerve cells found in stroke. Dr. Franke will use a novel mouse model to investigate the role of the Akt cell survival kinase in neural stem cell proliferation and survival. Dr. Tsang will develop another model system to study the therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells.

Researchers Receive Muscular Dystrophy Association Grants

Three Columbia researchers were awarded grants by the Muscular Dystrophy Association: Dr. Hiroshi Mitsumoto, Wesley J. Howe Professor of Neurology, was awarded a $415,700 grant for a study of potential interactions between genes and the environment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Dr. Howard Worman, associate professor of medicine and anatomy and cell biology, was awarded $330,200 to study how abnormalities in a protein called Smad 2/3 may affect cell signaling; and Dr. Eric Schon, professor of genetics and development, was awarded $66,200 to study how genes control the multiplication of mitochondria, the cells' energy-producing units.

Mark Hardy, Auchincloss Professor of Surgery, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Hallym University in Korea. Dr. Hardy has worked with surgical fellows in setting up research projects and development of clinical trials in Korea.

Barry Inabnet, assistant professor of surgery, was inducted into the French National Academy of Surgery in Paris. It is rare that non-French surgeons are invited to become academy members. Dr. Inabnet was the only American surgeon to be inducted.

K. Craig Kent, professor of surgery, has been appointed associate editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

James McShane has been appointed assistant vice president of public safety, the new name for Columbia University's security department. Mr. McShane joins Columbia from the New York City Police Department where he was the deputy chief executive director of the Narcotics Division. He is a Fulbright Scholar, with a master's in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law. The new name reflects the department's expanded mission to respond to a heightened security environment. Under Mr. McShane's leadership, the department will define a strategy to meet the needs of the Columbia campuses and university community.

Edmund N. Goodman, associate clinical professor of surgery, died Dec. 9, 2003, at age 95. Dr. Goodman was a pioneer in the study of the autonomic nervous system. He co-developed the electrogastrogram — a painless test that measures the activity of the stomach nerves before and after eating — at Cambridge University in the 1930s. He received his medical degree from Columbia, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. His patients included such notables as Eleanor Roosevelt and Vladimir Horowitz.

Ruth Guttmann died in October at age 93. Dr. Guttmann, professor emeritus of radiology, was on the faculty of the Department of Radiology from 1953 until her retirement in 1976. Dr. Guttmann was a member of the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council. She established the Thomas S. Zimmer Professorship of Reconstructive Surgery at Columbia in honor of her husband, a pioneer in the field. In 1997, Dr. Guttmann established the George Guttmann Professorship Fund in honor of her father, an oral surgeon, to be used to create the George Guttmann Professorship of Craniofacial Surgery at the School of Dental and Oral Surgery.

Richard Lambert Masland, the H. Houston Merritt Professor Emeritus of Neurology, who led a landmark study on the causes of birth defects that became a template for U.S.-funded biomedical research, died Dec. 19 at age 93.

Dr. Masland was chairman of the Department of Neurology from 1968 through 1973. From 1959 to 1968 Dr. Masland was the director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness of the NIH. In that position, he was part of a team that crafted the merit-based peer review system that has become the foundation of medical research in the United States.

Dr. Masland is best known for leading the National Collaborative Perinatal Project, a nationwide study of pregnancy and child development while at the NIH. The project generated hundreds of scientific articles and produced major findings, such as the danger of smoking during pregnancy and the link between the Rubella virus and mental retardation.

At age 72, Masland was appointed clinical professor of neurology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers Medical School. He resigned the post in 1989. During the same period, he was president of the World Federation of Neurology.

George R. Merriam'41, professor emeritus of clinical ophthalmology, died in early January at age 90. Dr. Merriam's research focused on retinoblastoma, an eye cancer. He tried to find the lowest amount of radiation necessary to destroy the tumor without harming the eye. Dr. Merriam served in the U.S. Army's 12th Evacuation Hospital in Britain during World War II. In the 1960s, Dr. Merriam was a consultant to NASA on the possible effects of ion radiation on astronauts.