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Rensselaer Receives $7 Million Gift for Biotechnology Research

Tue, 2001-12-11 19:35 -- Anonymous

December 11, 2001

Gift will be matched with additional $7 million from Rensselaer

Troy, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received a gift of $7 million from Morris "Marty" Silverman that will accelerate biotechnology research in the Capital Region and advance the work of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson announced at a press conference today.

Silverman's gift will be matched by an additional $7 million from Rensselaer.

The $14 million will create the Noble Enterprise Constellation, a group of distinguished senior and junior faculty in biotechnology research. It is intended that these faculty will have academic faculty appointments at Rensselaer and joint positions at the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health.

The Noble Enterprise Constellation will conduct research in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, which is the replacement or rebuilding of damaged tissues and organs for therapeutic purposes. Scientific research in these fields now focuses on the understanding of basic molecular and cellular processes leading to the replacement of full functionality of tissues, even for complex organs such as the liver, pancreas, and cardiovascular systems.

"Biotechnology research — especially research in the areas of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering-holds great promise for our ability to bring healing and hope to many millions who suffer. This gift today is of global importance in our effort to alleviate pain and despair throughout the world," President Jackson said. "In addition, biotechnology and its associated fields will be among the top growth industries of the 21st century. Advances in biotechnology research will bring considerable international recognition to the Capital Region, will attract additional funding for scientific inquiry, and will promote economic development."

"Mr. Silverman's personal investment in this public-private partnership for biotechnology research provides a major boost to scientific inquiry and economic development here in New York state and, most specifically, in the Capital Region," said New York State Governor George E. Pataki. "I applaud that commitment and commend the research excellence at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that has won his confidence. This partnership with Rensselaer and with New York state strengthens my effort to make certain New York leads in developing the technology to protect our health, preserve our peace, and improve our life together," Governor Pataki said.

"It is imperative that we provide the resources to bring to life our vision for research excellence," Silverman said. "Through the Noble Enterprise Constellation, world-class faculty and scientific researchers will find answers to great problems in human health and will bring international recognition to the Capital Region's leadership in biotechnology. The flame we light together today will ignite progress into the 22nd century," Silverman said.

Silverman, a Troy native and well-known philanthropist, has helped to transform the Capital Region into a pace-setter in law, science, medicine, and higher education. Notable among his efforts are the University Heights project, a collaborative effort among Albany Law School, Albany Medical College, The Sage Colleges, and Albany College of Pharmacy to create a shared 21-acre campus along New Scotland Avenue in Albany. Silverman also created the Renaissance Corporation of Albany, was instrumental in changing the name of Albany Airport to Albany International Airport, and last year established the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, whose first recipient was Dr. Arnold J. Levine, president of Rockefeller University.

In step with Silverman's vision, Rensselaer, Albany Medical Center and College, the Wadsworth Center, and the University at Albany — SUNY have formed the Capital Region Biotechnology Research Consortium. The consortium will significantly advance biotechnology research and promote economic development through industrial partnership in the Capital Region.

With the constellation as an impetus, the Capital Region Biotechnology Consortium will bring complementary strengths in key areas such as basic cell behavior; understanding new tissue growth; imaging cells and tissues using electron microscopy and terahertz imaging (a technology developed at Rensselaer); modeling and simulation; and genomics and proteomics.

The consortium calls for joint research proposals, shared appointments and joint recruiting of faculty and scientific staff, conferences and symposia, and the sponsoring of visiting scientists.

Contact: Patricia Azriel
Phone: (518) 276-6531
E-mail: N/A