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Latest Gifts Bring Private Philanthropy Support for UAlbany's Cancer Research to $1.07 Million
E. Stewart Jones donates $150,000 to build Cancer Research Endowment; gifts represent significant investment in the growth and development of the Cancer Research Center

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Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

UAlbany Interim President George M. Philip and Albany Attorney E. Stewart Jones

UAlbany Interim President George M. Philip and Albany Attorney E. Stewart Jones (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 15, 2008) – Interim President George M. Philip was joined by E. Stewart Jones and several other donors to announce $166,000 in gifts to support cancer research at the University at Albany-SUNY, bringing total support to $1.07 million on the strength of more than 1,000 individual donors. The gifts include $150,000 from Jones to support the Cancer Research Endowment, $10,000 from The Community Foundation for the Capital Region's Bender Scientific Fund, as well as $1,000 gifts from the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce and researchers Scott Tenenbaum and Thomas Begley.

The support is the latest measure of success for the University's Cancer Research Center, the signature building of UAlbany's East Campus and home to the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics (GCECG) and the Center for Functional Genomics (CFG). Recent developments include the hiring of senior researchers Martin Tenniswood and JoEllen Welsh from The University of Notre Dame through the Empire Innovation Program. The program aims to boost economic development and research competitiveness across New York State by enabling SUNY's university centers and doctoral campuses to hire investigators in areas in which the University is already demonstrating national and international strength. 

Other investments include $2.2 million from the National Institutes of Health for Begley to continue research on molecular pathways. Begley, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the School of Public Health (SPH) and researcher at GCECG, was also awarded $200,000 through the James D. Watson Investigator program to research cellular responses to chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat cancer. Assistant professor and researcher Douglas S. Conklin received a $450,000 award from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Tenenbaum, an assistant professor biomedical sciences and GCECG scientists, received $2.6 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to study the organization and function of human genes. GCECG scientists have also partnered with other regional medical facilities, including St. Peter's Hospital, Samaritan Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital to secure grants helping to advance cancer research.

"I want to thank E. Stewart Jones and all those in the community who have given to support cancer research here at the University at Albany," said Philip. "Their generosity and commitment to assist us in our efforts to discover the root causes of cancer is inspirational. It's also another measure of how the Cancer Research Center is a successful investment for the Capital Region."

"I appreciate the support of E. Stewart Jones, the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce and others in the Capital Region for building upon our investment in cancer research at the University at Albany," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.  "I also commend the scientists at UAlbany who continue to inspire support through their commitment to cutting-edge research aimed at finding the cure for cancer."

"It's an honor to be a part of this effort at the University at Albany to find a cure for cancer," said Jones. "I look forward to following the progress of the cancer researchers in this building as they continue their groundbreaking study in cancer genomics."

"These gifts are a recognition of the maturation of the Cancer Research Center and the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics," said Paulette McCormick, director of the Gen*NY*Sis center. "With this investment, we will be better equipped to unlock the fundamental causes of cancer and work toward developing a cure."
 
"We're happy to make the investment to support cancer research at the University at Albany's Cancer Research Center," said Jake Dumesnil, director of programs and communications for the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce. "We take it as part of our mission at the chamber to assist in the progress of this Center and its scientists."

"The support of E. Stewart Jones, the Chamber of Commerce and all those who have given to this facility is essential to our educational mission at the university and the School of Public Health," said Dean Philip C. Nasca. "Our researchers in the Cancer Research Center are also indispensable as educators for the biological sciences program at the School and these investments will help them better serve the students of UAlbany."

"As a scientist and professor, I'm happy to be able to give back to the University by donating to support cancer research here at UAlbany," said Tenenbaum. "The community has been instrumental in supporting our work, and I feel it is only fitting that we recognize these investments by contributing as well."

The goal of the Cancer Research Endowment is to accelerate finding effective treatments for cancer through investment and research, including:

  • Recruiting renowned senior-level scientists with the ability to propel and inspire scientific accomplishment, as well as junior-level faculty to complement existing research strengths
  • Establishing competitive fellowship stipends to attract top doctoral and post-doctoral students
  • Provide capital for pilot and innovative new projects and approaches
  • Maintain cutting-edge equipment critical to a researcher’s success
  • Sponsoring symposia, visiting scientists and publication of research findings in national and international journals

The Cancer Research Center combines UAlbany research expertise in genomics and biomedical sciences with state-of-the-art technology in an 113,000 square-foot facility. The Center hosts scientists committed to discovering the genetic origins of cancer and who conduct research into finding a cure for the disease. It is part of New York State's Generating Employment Through New York Science (Gen*NY*Sis) program, a $500 million initiative in government and private investment, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. Its goal is to lure new life science industries to the state and make New York a leader in creating science and technology jobs.

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