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NY CAP Research Alliance Showcases Success and Impact of Regional Collaboration

Second Annual Research Symposium Highlights Results of 12 Collaborative Projects Funded by Alliance

JoEllen Welsh, lead research on a newly funded NY CAP Research Alliance project, "Control of Inflammation-Associated Cancer by Vitamin D and CD14," instructs honors student Joseph D'Angelo, '16 (left) in her UAlbany Cancer Research Center lab as Welsh Laboratory research project assistant Don Matthews looks on. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Albany, N.Y. (October 24, 2014) – The New York Capital Region Research Alliance today showcased leading-edge biomedical research resulting from the unprecedented regional collaboration between Albany Medical Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University at Albany.

Over the past two years, collaborations between researchers at the three institutions resulted in advances in the fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the development of new medical technologies and other initiatives. The projects were supported with a total of nearly $900,000 of grant funding from the Alliance.

Funded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council, the NY CAP Research Alliance held its second annual symposium, titled “Advancing a Cooperative Translational Medicine Research Paradigm in the Capital Region.” The two-day symposium featured presentations by 12 research groups that received seed funding from the Alliance.

Through these collaborations, the researchers attracted national grant funding, published important research results, developed patent applications, and created new partnerships, including:

  • 1 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant received
  • 4 additional major grant proposals submitted to NIH, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense
Published Research
  • • 7 accepted papers in leading scientific journals
  • • 4 manuscripts under review by scientific journals
  • • 8 presentations at national meetings and conferences
Intellectual Property
  • • 2 provisional patents applications
  • • 1 international patent application
  • • 3 new partnerships with Veterans Health Administration hospitals
  • • 1 new partnership with Center for Disability Services in Albany
  • • Industry interest from major health device companies and manufacturers

“Today’s symposium reflects the Capital Region’s extraordinary potential to produce advances in biomedical research through collaboration between remarkable research institutions,” said Albany Medical Center President and CEO James J. Barba. “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, our three institutions’ work to improve the delivery of health care will help develop and attract new businesses and create jobs within our region.”

“By helping advance the fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, enabling key steps toward the development of new medical technology, and pushing forward the frontiers of scientific knowledge, the NY CAP Research Alliance is demonstrating the importance of regional collaboration in high-impact biomedical research,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. “At Rensselaer, we are dedicated to addressing the complex and interconnected global challenges that affect every citizen of every nation. We are pleased to partner with the other NY CAP Research Alliance member organizations, and we are enthusiastic about the initial results of these collaborations.”

“Established two years ago as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, the NYCAP Research Alliance leverages the biomedical expertise in our region and promotes a collaborative platform for our researchers,” said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones, Ph.D. “The University at Albany is pleased to continue this innovative initiative with Albany Medical Center and Rensselaer, and looks forward to the development of new scientific advancements that will lead to commercialization opportunities and jobs for our region.”

At the symposium, sponsors Albany Medical Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany, and Wadsworth Center welcomed three internationally recognized researchers to deliver keynote addresses:

  • Max Diem, Ph.D, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University in Boston | Well-known for his work in physical and biophysical chemistry, bio-imaging and medical diagnostics, he is working on development of unique optical methods for medical diagnosis using molecular fingerprint techniques such as infrared and Raman micro-spectroscopy.
  • Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D, Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute | His studies of RNA and genome sequencing focus on finding new, patient-specific drugs to treat rare genetic diseases, such as adult onset-muscular dystrophy, and more common disorders with poor prognosis, such as drug-resistant cancers.
  • Lawrence S. Honig, M.D., Ph.D, Professor of Clinical Neurology, Columbia University | A foremost Alzheimer’s clinician and researcher, he is working on developing biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, and using molecular and biological tools to analyze gene expression and tissue changes in aging and brain disease.

The NY CAP Research Alliance was established in 2012 by Albany Medical Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University at Albany with a $950,000 grant as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. Created to foster biomedical research among the Capital Region’s leading academic research institutions, the Alliance was a first-round Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) priority project.

The Alliance was designed to spur economic growth, formalize existing collaboration and foster additional cooperation among numerous biomedical research entities located in New York’s Capital Region to attract notable biomedical research talent to the region; leverage research-related investments and increase the amount of supported biomedical research underway in the region; identify opportunities for development of products as a result of research and secure seed funding for their commercialization; encourage development of businesses producing biomedical interventions and devices; and bring new opportunity to the region and create new jobs in a sector that can be expected to continue to grow.

Under the leadership of Albany Medical Center President and CEO James J. Barba,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, and University at Albany President Robert J. Jones, each Alliance member institution brought distinctive strengths and expertise in biomedical research: clinical research, medical diagnostics and treatment; computation and bioengineering; and life sciences, and nanotechnology. The Alliance leveraged state-of-the-art specialized laboratories and facilities at each of the three member institutions.

In October 2012, the Alliance awarded 12 grants to collaborative projects with high translational significance in areas such as Alzheimer’s disease, other neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and regenerative medicine. Projects were funded based on their ability to advance the targeted biomedical research areas and with their potential for translation and commercialization. Collaboration was also an important prerequisite for funding, with each grant involving researchers from at least two of the three member institutions.

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