Columbia receives NYSTAR grant - Brain imaging studies will accelerate medical science and create jobs

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 8, 2001- Columbia University has received an $11 million New York State grant to conduct brain imaging studies that will expand medical science and create jobs.

The award is part of a total of $27.4 million in grants awarded by the Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). The grants are a "major milestone in our efforts to secure New York's role as an international leader in high-tech and biotechnology research and economic growth," Gov. George E. Pataki said.

Columbia University President Dr. George Rupp said, "The Governor has played a crucial role in catalyzing programs that enlist university research in the cause of technology transfer and economic development. All of us who care about New York's competitiveness are deeply grateful for his leadership."

"This is important because it will fund studies of imaging the human brain in a way that's non-invasive and does not disturb the function of the brain," said Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., Columbia University's vice president for health and biomedical sciences, dean of the faculty of health sciences, and dean of the faculty of medicine.

"This will enable researchers to study very complex brain functions that previously were inaccessible but are essential for remembering distant events or controlling emotions," Dr. Fischbach said.

The high-resolution imaging will be conducted in a new center, the High Resolution Imaging of Functional Neural Circuits in Behavior and Pathology Center. The center will be staffed by Columbia's world-class neuroscience team, including Nobel laureate Eric Kandel.

New imaging technologies that have come into use the past decade are revolutionizing neuroscience by allowing research of the healthy human brain. Using the grant, Columbia will exploit and improve those technologies, including positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and 2-photon laser microscopy.

Previous research

Contact: Carolyn Conway-Hoare
Columbia University Medical Center

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