Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Block Research Pavilion Officially Opens at Einstein

Performing the ribbon-cutting were, L-R: NYC Council Member James Vacca; Michael F. Price; Dean Allen M. Siegel; Muriel Block; Robert Belfer, chairman emeritus of Einstein Board; President Richard M. Joel; and Irving Baumrind, member of Einstein Board.

Jun 13, 2008 — Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University officially opens its 223,000-square-foot Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion on June 12. The five-story, $220-million facility is the largest and most significant research building to be constructed in the Bronx in half a century. It houses 40 research teams, with 400 scientists, dedicated to advancing a broad array of biomedical research.

Translational medicine, a revolutionary “bench to bedside” approach that applies discoveries from the laboratory directly to patient care, will drive the work at the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion. The opening of the building positions Einstein on the leading edge of biomedical research in the 21st century.

“We are extremely grateful for the $25 million gift of Michael F. Price and the $22 million gift of Muriel Block, because their generosity led to the creation of this spectacular new building,” said Allen M. Spiegel, MD, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein. “The Price Center/Block Research Pavilion will make possible rapid advances in medicine through collaborative research by our world-renowned scientists and physicians.”

The Price Center/Block Research Pavilion programs encompass genetics, epigenetics, stem cell science, cellular imaging, systems and computational biology, vaccines and drug design. The center is unique because it emphasizes the collaborative effort among these programs to solve some of the most important health problems confronting society today. For example:

Human Genetics
A cornerstone of translational research, human genetics bridges the gap between basic research on biological mechanisms of disease in cell and animal models and clinical research with human patients. Einstein’s Human Genetics program focuses on the genetic changes that make us susceptible to infectious disease, psychiatric illness, heart disease, autism, aging, birth defects and other conditions. Einstein is a national leader in the emerging field of epigenetics, which studies the effects of non-hereditary genetic changes on cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Researchers at the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion will apply sophisticated epigenetic techniques and analyses to a variety of research questions.

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Research on embryonic and adult stem cells holds great potential for uncovering basic mechanisms of human biology and developing novel cell-replacement therapies and other translational applications to treat and cure disease. Einstein has a nationally renowned stem cell research program with major strengths in hematology and liver disease. The college’s already strong reputation in these fields will be further enhanced by the research that will be conducted at the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion.

Diabetes, Obesity and Other Metabolic Diseases
These serious public health threats?prevalent not only locally in the Bronx but across the US and globally?exact a high human toll in the form of increased risk for cancer, heart disease and organ failure. They also place an economic strain on the healthcare system. For 30 years, Einstein has been a leader in basic and clinical research in this disease area. Our Diabetes Research and Training Center is one of only a small number of comprehensive diabetes centers in the nation supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Now the College of Medicine has an opportunity to build on its strong track record of achievement by applying the advanced technologies and expertise available in the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion.

The research at the new center is supported by both private and public donations. An example of the former is a recent $25 million gift from Ruth and David Gottesman, which will support research in epigenetics, stem cells, and regenerative medicine. An example of the latter is a recent $22 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH.

“Creative collaboration can help to both prevent disease and develop cures,” said Michael F. Price, whose gift made the center possible. “The promise of the new center is that it will play a pivotal role in advancing the college of medicine’s tradition of fostering scientific cooperation among its own faculty and with investigators at major medical centers around the world.”

“Medicine in the 21st century is poised to make breakthrough discoveries with new technologies,” said Richard M. Joel, President of Yeshiva University. “The scientific teams in the Price Center are among the international leaders who make these discoveries possible, and that is the excitement generated by the center’s opening.”

“The opening of the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion heralds the importance of translational research in bringing medical breakthroughs to patients more quickly through a working partnership of scientists and clinicians,” said Steven Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, the university hospital for Einstein. “This is great news for patients and families in the communities we serve.”

The Price Center/Block Research Pavilion’s floors are separated into research wings that house both traditional biomedical research labs and computational and systems biology labs, which assemble and interpret huge amounts of data generated by modern genetic and epigenetic studies. Each floor has a sun-lit common area with a lounge, chalkboards, and a conference room to foster informal dialogue among researchers. A spiral staircase, reminiscent of the DNA double helix, joins the floors’ common areas in an open atrium. On the ground floor is a wood-lined, 107-seat lecture hall.

The Price Center/Block Research Pavilion occupies 10 acres of land adjacent to existing campus buildings. Its bold, modern design represents a new identity for the medical college?making it the physical and strategic hub of Einstein’s long-term research commitment to expand biomedical sciences and medical education. The land is leased from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation for 99 years.

The building’s architect was Payette Associates and the construction manager was Tishman Construction Co. Photographs and additional information on the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion can be found by visiting the college of medicine’s homepage.

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