The Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/ Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion, now under construction.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The philosophy of this institution – always look forward and rarely look back – makes this anniversary an ideal occasion for taking stock of the values on which the college was built and for discussing its future.
In 1948, Dr. Samuel Belkin, the President of Yeshiva University, developed a vision for a new medical school. At that time, diversity among medical students was virtually nonexistent in the United States. Women were rarely admitted, and men of minority races, religions, and creeds encountered many barriers to entering medical school. Dr. Belkin wanted to create a medical school founded on excellence and committed to the humanistic values of Judaism, and one that would be...
EINSTEIN'S FUTURE VISION
While clinical education and training occupies a central role at Einstein, it is biomedical research that drives the College's growth. Einstein has some 300 laboratories, an annual operating budget of $385 million, and ranks fourth in the nation in National Institutes of Health grants awarded to basic science departments.
Last year alone, the faculty garnered more than $135 million in peer-reviewed grants from the NIH. In addition, the NIH has designated six major Einstein programs as "Centers of Excellence": the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, the Brain and Neuroscience Center, the Diabetes Center, the Liver Research Center, the Sickle Cell Center, and the Center for AIDS Research. In addition, Einstein was the only New York City institution selected to participate in the federally funded mapping of the human genome.
Recently, the medical school established a Center for the Study of Reproductive Biology and Women's Health. This center's mission is to carry out research focusing on fundamental issues of female reproductive biology and to translate those findings into better treatments for women.
The College of Medicine has long maintained a four-pronged approach to its research mission:
Einstein's nine basic science departments – Anatomy and Structural Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Developmental and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Pathology, and Physiology and Biophysics – are staffed by world-class scientists, including members of the National Academy of Sciences and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who pursue cutting-edge research into basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of health and disease.
Through its centers in liver disease, cancer, sickle cell disease, heart disease, diabetes, AIDS and others, scientists and physician-scientists collaborate closely to study specific diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to life-threatening diseases using the latest tools in genetics, molecular and structural biology, bioinformatics, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Faculty at the major clinical affiliates conduct numerous NIH, foundation, and industry-sponsored clinical trials to determine optimal treatments for the entire spectrum of health problems including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and infectious diseases.
Through the departments of Epidemiology and Population Health, Family Medicine, Medicine and Pediatrics, Einstein is in the forefront of population-based outcomes research and the epidemiology of disease.
Einstein recently opened its Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center, which boasts a 4.0 Tesla magnet for human studies of brain disease and function as well as a 9.4 Tesla magnet for investigating the Medical College's many transgenic animal models of human disease. The powerful new technology used in the Gruss Center has provided some of the most detailed images ever seen of the anatomy and physiology of living organisms.
This October, the College broke ground for its highly anticipated new research building, the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine, which will be housed in the 200,000 square-foot Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion. This extraordinary new center will contain 40 research laboratories, 10 specialized scientific facilities, and a 100-seat auditorium. It will host some 43 senior scientists who will be recruited to direct scientific programs in several major disease-related areas. Each of the floors in the Price Center will house "open laboratories" where biomedical investigators can readily consult with each other – continuing Einstein's notable history of fostering scientific collaboration among its faculty members.
The research programs that will be carried out at the Price Center will include the following:
• Cellular transplantation and gene therapy – for liver disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and brain disorders
• Human Genetics – to study genetic susceptibility of infectious diseases, psychiatric illness, aging, and heart disease
• Infectious Diseases – to study treatment strategies for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV disease, and agents that could potentially be used for bioterrorism
• Mouse genetics and mouse models for human disease – to dissect the complex traits of autoimmune disease, cancer, neurological disease, diabetes, and obesity
• Genetics and Biology of Cancer – to study the progression of cancer, metastases, and angiogenesis
To help support these initiatives, the College of Medicine is planning to build a number of highly specialized facilities including:
• A 20,000 cage mouse facility that will provide mice for studies involving gene targeting, transgenic mouse phenotyping and histopathology
• Chemical genomics and combinatorial chemistry facilities
• Human genetics and microarray facilities
• Structural genomics facilities
• Biophotonics and analytic imaging facilities
As the Albert Einstein College of Medicine enters its second half-century, it stands poised to maintain its leading role in biomedical and clinical research and in the training of the next generation of humane physicians and ethically responsible scientific investigators.