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January 17, 2008

CCNY CHOSEN AS A RECIPIENT OF FIRST NEW YORK STATE STEM CELL RESEARCH GRANTS

Award of $198,000 to Support Research Training, Infrastructure Development

NEW YORK, January 17, 2008 – The City College of New York (CCNY) was one of 25 institutions selected to receive the first grants awarded through New York State’s new $600 million multi-year stem cell research program. The funding, for $198,000 over one year, will strengthen CCNY’s stem cell research capabilities by supporting training of researchers and infrastructure development.

As the current frontier in biomedical research, stem cells offer great promise for cell-based therapies and tissue engineering for the next generation of regenerative medicine as well as scientific understanding of developmental biology. Stem cell research holds out hope to people who suffer from such debilitating and life-threatening ailments as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

“While CCNY faculty members now can conduct biomedical research related to stem cells, these funds will help us develop long-term research capabilities using human embryonic stem cells,” said Dr. John Tarbell, Wallace Coulter Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, The Grove School of Engineering at The City College. Dr. Tarbell and Dr. Sihong Wang, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, are co-Principal Investigators on the grant.

The proceeds of the grant to CCNY will be used for two purposes. It will support comprehensive stem cell training for faculty members who are actively working or planning to work in stem cell research. In addition, it will fund acquisition of a fluorescence-activated cell sorter, an essential piece of equipment for stem cell characterization and isolation with high purity.

Two new science research buildings to be built on The City College campus will provide extended space and facilities for development of stem cell research at CCNY, Dr. Tarbell noted. It is anticipated that groundbreaking for these structures will take place during the spring of 2008.

Both Professors Tarbell and Wang have stem cell research investigations underway. Dr. Tarbell’s lab is examining the role of the cells’ mechanical environment in the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into hematopoietic and vascular cells. Dr. Wang and her graduate students are researching the heat shock effects on human mesenchymal stem cell proliferation and differentiation in synthetic peptide hydrogels.

Four other faculty members are supported by the grant to conduct stem cell research:

  • Dr. Bingmei Fu, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will investigate homing of mesenchymal stem cells in the microcirculation.
  • Dr. Lane Gilchrist, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, plans to focus on development of supported biomembrane interfaces for mimicry of stem cells microenvironments.
  • Dr. Ira Josephson, Associate Medical Professor, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, plans to continue and extend his research on electrophysiology of murine cardiac-directed embryonic stem cells begun while he worked at the National Institute on Aging.
  • Dr. Shubha Govind, Professor of Biology, is focused on identification of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors in signaling mutants of drosophila.

The New York State grant required a matching in-kind contribution of not less than 25 percent of the grant value. This was met through equal commitments from Dr. Gillian Small, University Dean of Research, The City University of New York, and Dr. Zeev Dagan, Provost of The City College.

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, The Grove School of Engineering and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

About The Grove School of Engineering at CCNY

The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York, formerly the CCNY School of Engineering, is the only public engineering school within New York City. It offers Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in seven fields: biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering and computer science. The School is recognized nationally for the excellence of its instructional and research programs and ranks among the most diverse engineering schools in the country. On November 28, 2005, the CUNY Board of Trustees named the School in honor of Dr. Andrew S. Grove, a member of the CCNY Class of 1960, and a co-founder and former chairman of Intel Corp., the world’s leading producer of microprocessors. For additional information, visit www1.ccny.cuny.edu/prospective/engineering.

About The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

Founded in 1973, The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York offers a unique, seven-year B.S./M.D. program that integrates an undergraduate education with the first two years of medical school. After five years at Sophie Davis, students transfer seamlessly to one of six medical schools – Albany Medical College, Dartmouth Medical School, New York Medical College, New York University, SUNY Downstate School of Medicine or SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine – for the final two years of medical education and their M.D. degree. 

The School's mission is to increase accessibility to careers in medicine for inner-city New York City youth, especially minorities underrepresented in medicine, and to train primary care physicians to serve in medically underserved communities. At a time of declining enrollment of underrepresented minorities in medical schools across the country, around 40 percent of Sophie Davis’ approximately 360 students are African-American or Hispanic, representing diversity unparalleled at other U.S. medical schools. For additional information, visit www.med.cuny.edu.

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