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April 15, 2011
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate breaks ground on $72M expansion of the Institute for Human Performance

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, Ph.D., joined Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D., and Steven Goodman, Ph.D., vice president for research and dean of Upstate’s College of Graduate Studies, in a groundbreaking ceremony for a $72 million, 158,273 square foot expansion of the university’s Institute for Human Performance (IHP) April 15.

“The expansion of IHP is about more than just bricks and mortar; it’s about putting New Yorkers to work, investing in and raising up Syracuse and central New York, and forging new strategies and setting new boundaries in interdisciplinary research,” said Chancellor Zimpher.

Smith said: “This is an investment – a down payment – on the new economy of central New York. The expansion of IHP embodies SUNY Upstate Medical University’s mission of research and service, and it aligns both with New York’s need to push forward with a knowledge based economy and Chancellor Zimpher’s strategic plan, The Power of SUNY.”

In addition to Zimpher’s address and remarks by President Smith, the ceremony also included presentations by Upstate neuroscience researchers Jeremy Shefner, M.D., Ph.D., Francesca Pignoni, Ph.D., and Stephen Glatt, Ph.D., who discussed their investigations and the value of interdisciplinary research; -and a presentation by Goodman who discussed the IHP expansion and how it will showcase Upstate’s strength in interdisciplinary research.

The expansion of the IHP will allow the university to further its interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approach to the study of disorders of the nervous system and speed the pace of scientific discovery. It will also strengthen Upstate’s research enterprise, projected this year to total $42 million. The expanded facility is expected to open in the spring of 2013.

Rather than working within the confines of their own discipline, interdisciplinary research encourages scientists from various disciplines and departments to work as a team on specific diseases. These collaborations will integrate diverse scientific approaches to advance knowledge into the cause and progression of diseases of the brain, spine and visual system. This knowledge can then be translated to medical practice, otherwise known as translational research, leading to new management or curative therapies for that disease.

“The IHP expansion will create an environment that is necessary for interdisciplinary research to thrive,” said Goodman. “In addition to an efficient, sustainable and open design, the new facility will feature the most advanced generation of core (shared) resources and technology and cutting-edge laboratory space that will support our research teams, and attract highly qualified new recruits to our biomedical community.”

Currently, interdisciplinary research at the IHP is devoted primarily to human activity and rehabilitation. The new, expanded facility will house investigators from various disciplines whose studies involve disorders of the nervous system, such as behavioral disorders like ADHD, disorders of the visual system, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Four disease-based pillars stimulate interdisciplinary research at Upstate. In addition to disorders of the nervous system, the pillars include: cancer; infectious diseases; and diabetes, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease.

At Upstate, projected funding for 2011 is $42 million — a record for the university. There are 441 grants, contracts, and clinical trials on campus, including 94 grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its research funding has doubled in the past decade and grown by 20 percent in the past year alone.

See IHP animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKNdiMuI0Hg.

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