Columbia University Medical Center

Gov. Paterson Visits Cumc To Announce More Than $600 Million In Stimulus Grants For Science And Medical Institutions Statewide

Research Will Promote Innovation to Build the New Economy

NEW YORK (Sept. 22, 2009) – Governor David A. Paterson announced today that Columbia University Medical Center and other New York State universities, medical facilities, businesses and research institutions have been awarded 1,164 research grants worth more than $600 million in competitive stimulus funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, introduces Governor David A. Paterson of New York. Photo credits:
Diane Bondareff.

“The key to a growing economy is investing in innovation – by turning discoveries into business opportunities,” Gov. Paterson said at a special press conference held at Columbia University Medical Center. “The $605.5 million that institutions all around New York have won will help ensure that New York remains a leader in research as we continue to work with our universities to build bridges from research to application.”

Columbia University Medical Center received about $30 million for medical research, including studies that investigate the causes of Alzheimer’s, the connection between heart disease and depression, new treatments for cancer and AIDS, how adult stem cells in the brain make new neurons, and how prenatal exposure to pollution affects the health of children. In all, Columbia University as a whole was awarded $66.9 million in the package.

Among other projects being funded is a $16 million grant for the Energy Frontier Research Center at Columbia University, matched by 10 percent from the State and by another $250,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, to use nanotechnology and supercomputing in pursuit of advances in solar energy, biofuels, transportation, energy efficiency, electricity storage and transmission, carbon capture and sequestration, and nuclear energy

Dr. Lee Goldman with Governor David Paterson

Before getting into the crux of the announcement, however, Gov. Paterson related his own personal story about his being treated at the Medical Center, where an ophthalmological appointment as a young child revealed severe sight loss.

“I couldn’t be happier to be back for this announcement today because I was, in effect, reborn at Columbia University Medical Center many years ago,” Gov. Paterson said at the start of the conference. “Growing up in Brooklyn with an unknown ophthalmologic problem that was diagnosed – at another facility that will remain nameless – as Tay-Sachs Disease, my parents were told that I probably would live until age 2. And so I was brought to Columbia University Medical Center in early 1955 where they re-adapted the diagnosis to optic atrophy and that it was something that I would be able to go through life with and make something of myself. So coming back here is a great thrill for me.”

Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, introduced the Governor and kicked off the event, saying: “Government support for biomedical research not only directly leads to the discovery of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic measures that improve people’s health and quality of life but also generates new jobs in New York State.”

The federal agencies providing these funds include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

David Hirsh, Columbia’s Executive Vice President for Research, said: “These grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act support basic and applied research programs at Columbia and our fellow New York State institutions that develop applications with the potential to improve the lives of people everywhere. These investments also stimulate the creation of new ideas, new products and new jobs that add value to our local and national economy.”

Dean Goldman and the Governor were joined by elected officials, New York state legislators and representatives from the State’s other top colleges and universities who were part of the announcement. The full press release from the Governor’s office, which lists top institutional awardees is available here:

From left to right, David Hirsh, Columbia’s Executive Vice President for Research; Dean Lee Goldman; New York State Governor David Paterson; and New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman.

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Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit