Yale recognizes vital role of Bristol-Myers Squibb in biomedical research and education


New Haven, Conn. -- The Yale School of Medicine recently hosted a special program of neuroscience lectures and unveiled a plaque at the heart of the medical campus to honor Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for its contributions to biomedical research and education at Yale. University President Richard Levin and Dean Robert Alpern hosted Peter Dolan, Chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and a contingent of the company's senior executives.

Levin unveiled the plaque, located a few steps from the Dean's Office in Sterling Hall of Medicine, together with Dolan, John Damonti, President of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, and Francis Cuss, Senior Vice President for Drug Discovery, who directs the company's research complex in Wallingford, CT.

"Bristol-Myers Squibb is one of Yale's oldest and most important corporate relationships in advancing biomedical research and education," President Levin said. "When I joined the faculty 30 years ago, Bristol-Myers was already supporting research in the Department of Human Genetics, which had just been established." Levin attributed the partnership's longevity to a shared sense of purpose: "Over the years, we have come to recognize in each other a strong belief in the power of science to improve human health and well-being."

Dean Alpern noted that Bristol-Myers Squibb has played an instrumental role in creating and developing Yale's Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, launched in 1996 to restructure graduate education in the life sciences. "Without Bristol-Myers Squibb's vision -- and the great commitment and generosity behind it -- the Combined Program would not have been possible," Alpern said.

Before the unveiling ceremony, the guests joined Yale students and faculty to hear two lectures on new developments in neuroscience research. Robert Zaczek, Director of Biochemical Pharmacology in Bristol-Myers Squibb's Neuroscience Biology unit, discussed the shift from empirical to molecular approaches in the neuroscience drug discovery process.

Pasko Rakic, the Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience, surveyed the logistics of brain development, drawing on his groundbreaking research on the molecular mechanisms of neuronal cell proliferation and migration. Professor Rakic is Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the School of Medicine and Director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University. In 2002, Professor Rakic was the recipient of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience. In addition to innovation in graduate education and genetics research, Bristol-Myers Squibb has supported a broad range of biomedical education and research activities at Yale.

New approaches to cancer therapeutics, the molecular biology of substance abuse and depression, medicines to combat HIV, and insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes are just a few of the areas of inquiry in which Bristol-Myers Squibb has boosted the efforts of Yale researchers.

Current areas of collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Yale include the Combined Program, the company's Secure the Future initiative -- a program of grants for local responses to the HIV pandemic in Southern and West Africa -- and a project at the Yale School of Nursing to develop best practice guidelines for treating chronic wounds, such as ulcers.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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