A $1.5 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation has established a new research and training program—called Cellular and Molecular Biophysics of Signal Transduction—to be conducted jointly by Weill Medical College and Cornell University in Ithaca. Through this new program in biophysics, biomedical scientists and student researchers hope to discover the chemical and physical codes in signal transduction, the exceedingly complex and incompletely understood system of cell communication through molecule-to-molecule "handshakes" used throughout the body.
Dr. Frederick Maxfield, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell, and Dr. Barbara Baird, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, are the project's co-directors. Other faculty who have joined the program on the Weill Cornell campus include Dr. Olaf Andersen, professor of physiology and biophysics; Dr. Marvin Gershengorn, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Distinguished Professor in Endocrinology in Medicine; Dr. Timothy McGraw, associate professor of biochemistry; Dr. Timothy Ryan, assistant professor of biochemistry; Dr. Xin-Yun Huang, associate professor of physiology and biophysics; and Dr. Hao Wu, assistant professor of biochemistry.
The grant from the Keck Foundation includes funding for joint research projects, shared training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, development of inter-campus courses, and installation of equipment to facilitate application of new techniques to key biomedical research problems. New technologies to be used in the program include a multiphoton microscope to be installed at Weill Cornell for applied research and an advanced ESR (electron spin resonance) instrument to be installed at the Ithaca campus to study the organization of lipids and membrane proteins.