Newswise — The grand opening of the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine (CEPM), a partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Icahn Mount Sinai), was held March 29, 2023 at the Hudson Research Center (HRC) at 619 West 54th Street.
The center is the latest in a 10+ year partnership between RPI, a world-renowned technological research university known for its engineering, technology, and science programs, and Icahn Mount Sinai, the academic arm of the Mount Sinai Health System, which includes eight hospitals and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York City region. The HRC is a 320,000-square-foot, mixed-use hub for innovation in New York City’s growing life sciences sector.
“We are thrilled to open the doors to the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine,” said Rensselaer President Martin A. Schmidt, Ph.D. “CEPM will transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s, infectious diseases, and more by advancing state-of-the-art technologies and focusing on a personalized approach. CEPM, the third of RPI’s New York City-based research centers, will also provide exceptional educational opportunities for the next generation of researchers, medical professionals, and life sciences entrepreneurs.”
Leveraging the strength of RPI and Icahn Mount Sinai, CEPM bridges research, technology development and commercialization, and education. CEPM is one of the first life science centers of its kind in New York City and the nation to integrate engineering and biomedical sciences with education, training, and research collaborations to radically improve human health.
CEPM is built on the tenet that engineering is fundamental to understanding biomedical phenomena and developing the next generation of precision diagnostics and therapeutics for human health and well-being. RPI and Icahn Mount Sinai are well-positioned to seamlessly integrate research and education in engineering with medicine and transform personalized medicine. Critically, a major distinguishing feature of CEPM is the immense diversity in patients within the Mount Sinai Health System. This diversity, together with the analytical capabilities of engineering, is critical in advancing precision medicine.
“The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine combines the biomedical excellence of Icahn Mount Sinai with the engineering expertise of RPI to create an academic research hub that will make fundamental discoveries and develop new treatments that will improve the lives of patients suffering from the most complex diseases,” said Dennis S. Charney, M.D., the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Icahn Mount Sinai.
Housed in 23,000 square feet of lab space on the 9th floor of the HRC, CEPM will benefit from the area’s abundance of research talent and is in the process of recruiting faculty and staff. The space provides both wet lab and dry lab capabilities with high-performance computational infrastructure to seamlessly perform complex experiments and build advanced technologies to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases at a patient’s level. Office space and open cubicles surround the lab space to create a cohesive and collaborative research environment to promote interdisciplinary teamwork.
“The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine is more than a hub for research and education — it’s a bridge to the future,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our administration is harnessing the momentum of the life sciences industry to create access to next-generation jobs for everyone. Last year, Governor Hochul and I announced SPARC Kips Bay, an education and innovation hub that will be the first of its kind in New York City, which will generate $25 billion in economic impact to the city and create 10,000 jobs. Together, we are going to make sure New York City leads the globe in life sciences.”
The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with a mission to accelerate cures for the major diseases of our time, is on the second and third floors of the HRC. Stem cell research plays a critical role in engineering tissue repair and in developing various cell types for drug discovery screening.
“These two institutions are widely recognized leaders in engineering and medicine, and we are delighted to welcome the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine to the Hudson Research Center by hosting the grand opening event,” said Derrick Rossi, Ph.D., Interim CEO of NYSCF. “The synergies between NYSCF’s stem cell biology and the engineering and medical expertise at CEPM will lead to new and important collaborations to accelerate discoveries that directly reach patients.”
Speakers included Schmidt and Charney, Mayor Adams, Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (via video), and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball.
“As we continue to establish New York City as the leader in the life sciences industry, we must continue to bolster innovation that will create new jobs and spur meaningful research,” said Kimball. “The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine will uniquely bridge biology, health care, and technology to advance cutting-edge discoveries and accelerate breakthrough treatment for intractable diseases, advancing individualized treatment, and improving quality of life for all New Yorkers. We are excited to continue working with our partners to spark new opportunities in this rapidly growing industry.”
The keynote speakers were Rossi and Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., CEO of Engineering Health and Executive Dean for Engineering Medicine at Texas A&M University, in partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital.
Additional speakers included CEPM Co-Directors Jonathan Dordick, Ph.D., Institute Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Biological Sciences at Rensselaer; and Priti Balchandani, Ph.D., Professor of Diagnostic, Molecular and Interventional Radiology, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at Icahn Mount Sinai; as well as Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer and CEPM Associate Director.
“The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine will enable breakthroughs in neuromodulation, immune resilience, and regenerative and reparative medicine,” said CEPM Co-Director Dordick. “We will give top talent with ambitious ideas the resources they need to more effectively advance personalized medicine to address intractable diseases and benefit patients.”
CEPM represents the evolution of a successful partnership between Mount Sinai and Rensselaer that has secured over $80 million in shared research funding since 2013. CEPM will drive advances in point-of-care and point-of-use devices and diagnostics; microphysiological platforms for discovery and diagnosis; robotic surgery; biomedical imaging; therapeutics biomanufacturing; and artificial intelligence and machine learning applied to biomedical data.
“The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine is creating a direct opportunity for exceptional engineers to apply their knowledge and skill toward the transformation of medicine and improvement of human health,” said CEPM Co-Director Balchandani.
CEPM will offer a joint Ph.D. to train students in engineering medicine with expertise in reparative medicine, and neuro- and immuno- engineering through educational courses and research training. It will involve immersions in engineering, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and clinical rotation and shadowing to create a “translational mindset” at the onset of the program and produce a new breed of Ph.D.s capable of inventing new technologies to address unmet clinical needs. The development of certificate programs will broaden CEPM’s academic mission and facilitate entrepreneurship and commercialization of advanced technologies and medical devices.
“The Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine presents exciting opportunities for researchers, students, and, ultimately, patients,” said Vashishth. “The treatments and technologies developed at CEPM will decrease side effects and increase effectiveness for patients and usher an inclusive and healthier future for medicine and health care.”
“We are proud to welcome Rensselaer and Mount Sinai as they launch the new Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine in the Hudson Research Center,” said Matthew Weir, President of Elevate Research Properties. “This new center will serve as an important anchor for the growing New York City research ecosystem.”
About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs, including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community comprised of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni and alumnae. Rensselaer faculty and graduates include upward of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.
About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is internationally renowned for its outstanding research, educational, and clinical care programs. It is the sole academic partner for the eight member hospitals* of the Mount Sinai Health System, one of the largest academic health systems in the United States, providing care to a large and diverse patient population. Ranked 14th nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and among the 99th percentile in research dollars per investigator according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Icahn Mount Sinai has a talented, productive, and successful faculty. More than 3,000 full-time scientists, educators and clinicians work within and across 34 academic departments and 35 multidisciplinary institutes, a structure that facilitates tremendous collaboration and synergy. Our emphasis on translational research and therapeutics is evident in such diverse areas as genomics/big data, virology, neuroscience, cardiology, geriatrics, as well as gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Icahn Mount Sinai offers highly competitive MD, PhD, and Master’s degree programs, with current enrollment of approximately 1,300 students. It has the largest graduate medical education program in the country, with more than 2,000 clinical residents and fellows training throughout the Health System. In addition, more than 550 postdoctoral research fellows are in training within the Health System. To learn more, please visit https://icahn.mssm.edu/.
About Taconic Partners:
Since 1997, Taconic Partners has acquired, redeveloped and repositioned over 12 million square feet of commercial office and mixed-use space, as well as over 6,500 units of luxury and workforce housing. As a fully integrated real estate company with a keen eye for uncovering value, its diverse capabilities are evidenced by its multifaceted success with luxury properties, as well as adaptive reuse and urban revitalization projects. In New York City, Taconic is advancing over 650,000 square feet of life sciences space at 125 West End Avenue as well as at the Hudson Research Center at 619 West 54th Street. Other active Taconic projects include 817 Broadway, 311 West 42nd Street and Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side. The firm also manages various real estate funds on behalf of institutional and pension fund investors. For more information visit: www.taconicpartners.com
About Silverstein Properties:
Silverstein Properties is a privately held, full-service real estate development, investment and management firm based in New York. Founded in 1957 by Chairman Larry Silverstein, the company has developed, owned and managed more than 40 million square feet of commercial, residential, retail and hotel space. Recent projects include 7 World Trade Center, the first LEED-certified office tower in New York City (2006), 4 World Trade Center (2013), the Four Seasons Downtown (2016), One West End (2017) and 3 World Trade Center (2018). The company has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work in New York City” by Crain’s New York Business for eight years in a row. For further information on Silverstein Properties, please visit www.silversteinproperties.com.
About New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute:
The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent non-profit organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 200 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including the NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in the development of pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array®, which is used to create cell lines for laboratories around the globe. NYSCF focuses on translational research in an accelerator model designed to overcome barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration.
Contact: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Katie Malatino [email protected] 838-240-5691
Mount Sinai Karin Eskenazi [email protected] 332-257-1538
Taconic Partners/Silverstein Properties Johann Hamilton [email protected] 917-887-1750
New York Stem Cell Foundation David McKeon [email protected] 212-365-7440
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Credit: Ben Hider/Associated Press