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Revolutionizing Education, Research, and Practice in Medicine: A Partnership Between Rensselaer and Mount Sinai

Remarks by
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) Auditorium
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Welcome to Rensselaer. We are delighted that all of you could join us for the announcement of an exciting new partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

First, I would like to recognize our distinguished guests from Mount Sinai:

  • Dr. Dennis Charney [Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine and EVP of Academic Affairs at Mt. Sinai Medical Center],
  • Dr. Scott Friedman [Dean for Therapeutic Discovery, Icahn School of Medicine] and
  • Dr. John Morrison [Dean of Basic Sciences and the Graduate School of Biological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine].

As well as…

  • James Barba, President and CEO of Albany Medical Center,
  • Penny Andrews, President and Dean of Albany Law School, and
  • Norman Dascher, CEO of Acute Care Troy of St. Peters Health Partners.

I thank you for being with us.

Over ten years ago, we devised a Plan to transform Rensselaer into a top-tier world-class, technological research university. We made significant investments in our people, programs, platforms, and partnerships toward that end.  As well, we developed and supported signature research thrusts that include biotechnology and the life sciences, nanotechnology and advanced materials, and computational science and engineering with a special focus on high-performance computing, and, more recently, cognitive computing. Unquestionably, these investments laid the groundwork for the agreement we announce today.

Evidence that ranges from exploding demand for a Rensselaer education, to rising funding for our research, confirms that our transformation has been successful. Now, we have refreshed and expanded the Rensselaer Plan, to position the university as a transformative force in the world at large, through the global impact of our research. 

Increasingly, however, the complex problems addressed by scientists, physicians, and engineers require expertise in many different disciplines at once,  collaborations that cut across those disciplines, and alliances that marry strength to strength. At Rensselaer, we understand that one of the most important elements of our success lies in our partners—distinguished partners such as the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Today, I am delighted be here with our new colleagues from Mount Sinai to launch an agreement to address, jointly, many of the great challenges in medicine and biomedical research.

Combining Mount Sinai’s leadership in biomedical research and patient care—with Rensselaer’s breakthrough research in biotechnology and interdisciplinary studies, rooted in our leadership in science, engineering, and technological entrepreneurship—we expect this agreement to result in radical innovations in health care.

This partnership is going to yield three significant advantages for Mount Sinai and Rensselaer. First, we will work together on cutting-edge research and seek joint funding for research projects. Second, we will collaborate to create novel educational programs that will benefit the students of both institutions. And third, together, we will accelerate the movement of research breakthroughs from the laboratory to the marketplace.

To accomplish this last goal, together, we will establish the Mount Sinai and Rensselaer Collaborative Center for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Center, which will have space and resources in both Troy and New York City, will bring together faculty and students from both institutions to transform fundamental research into innovative start-ups. 

At Rensselaer, we have a very simple motto that is nonetheless breath-taking in its audacity: “Why not change the world?” Mount Sinai and Rensselaer are now taking a significant step towards revolutionizing education, research, and practice in the field of medicine—and ultimately, improving human health around the globe.

Today, this partnership is important for our institutions. Tomorrow, it will be important for our students, faculty, and the incipient entrepreneurs among them. The day after that, it will make all the difference for the world at large.

Now, I would like to introduce Dr. Jonathan Dordick, Rensselaer Vice President for Research and Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who will provide more detail of our collaboration.  


Source citations are available from the division of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Statistical data contained herein were factually accurate at the time it was delivered. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assumes no duty to change it to reflect new developments.

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