Senator Jackson Visits CUIMC to Lend His Support for the NYFIRST Program

On November 29th New York State Senator Robert Jackson (D-32) visited CUIMC to meet with Drs. Jordan Orange, the Robert S. Carpentier Professor of Pediatrics and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and Emily Mace, Associate Professor of Pediatric Immunology, to tour their lab. Senator Jackson saw the research they were conducting to try and better understand how natural killer cells work and how they can be used to prevent and treat disease.

In 2018, Dr. Orange received one of the original New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent (NYFIRST) grants from New York State.  NYFIRST helps medical schools in New York recruit and retain top scientific talent – researchers who not only do cutting edge work, but also bring in grants and other funding, and have experience obtaining patents and commercializing their work.  This all means more good paying jobs for New York. 

Dr. Orange told how the NYFIRST grant helped Columbia to recruit Dr. Mace and him by providing part of the funds they needed to outfit their new lab with state-of-the-art equipment that enables them and others to conduct their research.   Senator Jackson has committed to advocate for additional NYFIRST funding in the upcoming state budget.

Senator Jackson said, "New York State supports NYFIRST because we want to make sure that advances in research happen in Northern Manhattan and across New York State.  I support the expansion of NYFIRST so we can have even more medical breakthroughs to help New Yorkers."

Dr. Orange added, “We were so grateful to host Senator Jackson who has been a sustained and profound advocate for education, science, and its positive impact upon our community. It was a joy to see his true interest in the science and his questions were really insightful. He wanted to see the impact of the NYFIRST program in action and certainly we are grateful for it as it helped facilitate the transfer of our research programs from Texas to New York.  New York is a great place for science and scientists, and we are really proud to be advancing our work here at Columbia in the City of New York.”

Jonathan Teyan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Medical Schools of New York, of which Columbia is a member, said, “In a relatively short time, NYFIRST has proven to be an important tool in keeping New York State globally competitive in biomedical research. NYFIRST’s economic impact is immediate; when scientists relocate to New York, they bring federal and private research funding, create new high-skilled jobs, and expand opportunities for collaboration with New York’s growing life sciences sector. Over the long term, their work improves the health and lives of New Yorkers, providing access to clinical trials and cutting-edge therapies.”

More information about NYFIRST can found at NY FIRST Program | Empire State Development