Current Issue: February 1, 2008


Rockefeller Archive Center makes downtown Manhattan historical records available. The Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA) archives, acquired by the Rockefeller Archive Center in 2000, have been fully processed and are now open for public research. Founded in 1958 by Rockefeller University Life Trustee David Rockefeller, the DLMA is a nonprofit association established to study and address issues of business, cultural and community development in Lower Manhattan and foster collaboration among the public and private sectors and government agencies to achieve cooperative urban renewal. Among the many city landmarks that the DLMA helped to plan and build in its first 50 years are Battery Park City, the South Street Seaport and the World Trade Center. The DLMA collection, for anyone interested in the modern history of New York City, encompasses 85.5 cubic feet of archival material and about 2,000 accompanying photographs. Questions about the collection can be addressed to Senior Archivist Robert Battaly,; more information is available at More

Principal Group to serve as new claims administrator


The Rockefeller University has chosen The Principal Financial Group, a 129-year-old financial services company headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, to take over the administration of its self-insured health plan, dental plan and flexible spending accounts. Principal has taken over claims processing for expenses incurred after January 1, 2008 from 21st Century Health and Benefits, which has been the university’s claims administrator since 1998. More

New head of security is former NYPD inspector


Jim-RogersJames Rogers has been on the payroll for almost a month, but he’s had an eye on the safety of Rockefeller University for years. A 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department, Mr. Rogers became Rockefeller’s new director of security on January 2, filling the position left open by the retirement of Joseph Nekola, who led the Office of Security for 18 years (see “Joe Nekola sets sail,” below). More

A new seminar series

One of the important things about being part of an academic community is the opportunity to attend lectures and seminars. Rockefeller has an impressive calendar, with some of the world’s most acclaimed scientists sharing their findings and opinions in a variety of fora each week. The university invests time and effort in running these series and I encourage everyone to make use of the lectures and seminars. In this column I am also introducing a new series which I think will be of broad interest to the community. More

Christian Münz to direct research institute in Zurich

Rockefeller immunologist to accept appointments at University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology


Christian-MunzChristian Münz, head of the Laboratory of Viral Immunobiology, has been appointed the new director of the Institute of Experimental Immunology — a research vehicle collaboratively run by the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr. Münz, who came to Rockefeller University as a postdoc 10 years ago and began his first independent lab here in 2003, was offered the new position in January 2007 and will begin moving his laboratory to Europe this August.

An alumnus of the University of Tübingen, where he received a bachelor’s degree in human medicine and master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry, Dr. Münz came to the United States and Rockefeller University in 1998, to work as a postdoc in Ralph Steinman’s Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology. In 2001 he joined the faculty as research assistant professor, and two years later he was presiding over his own lab as assistant professor. More

$400,000 grant creates new fund for translational research at Rockefeller


With a $400,000 grant from the Achelis and Bodman Foundations, Rockefeller University’s Bridges to Better Medicine Forum has launched a new fund devoted to advancing translational research that is on the cusp of commercial viability. The Technology Innovation Fund will finance four short-term projects a year, each with $30,000 to $70,000. The Office of Scientific and Facility Operations, which is administering the fund, began accepting project proposals yesterday and expects to award its first projects by March 3. More

A storeroom, transformed

Child and Family Center’s newly opened art studio offers kids a place to be creative


Maggie_CFCArt is a messy business, but the kids at the Child and Family Center have a new handle on it. The CFC’s art studio, created last fall in what used to be a storage room, gives kids in the university’s child care facility a dedicated place to express their creativity — without staining the carpet.

Funded by $25,000 in private donations from the university’s Women & Science program, renovations to the space were done entirely by Plant Operations personnel; the room’s furniture was paid for by the Parents’ Association. “What I really like about this is how excited everyone is about having this dedicated space,” says CFC Director Marjorie Goldsmith. “It’s hard enough for elementary and even secondary schools in this country to hold onto their art programs, but it’s actually rare for an early-childhood program to have one, and we do.” More

Following in family’s footsteps, Alicia Darnell wins national science prize



Family tradition. Alicia Darnell having tea with her family (from left, Jennifer, Bob and Jim) in Paul Nurse’s office in December.

For Alicia Darnell, science fairs are serious business. After two summers spent in research laboratories, the high school senior took home more than just extra credit — Ms. Darnell is this year’s second-place winner in the national Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The daughter of Associate Research Professor Jennifer Darnell and Professor Robert Darnell and the granddaughter of Professor Emeritus James Darnell Jr., Ms. Darnell — herself a former Science Outreach student — represents the third generation of Rockefeller University scientists in her family. Her project, titled “Alternative Splicing Defects Linked to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),” garnered her a $50,000 scholarship. The award was announced December 3 at New York University. More



Lu Bai, postdoc in Frederick Cross’s Laboratory of Yeast Molecular Genetics, and Erik Debler, postdoc in Günter Blobel’s Laboratory of Cell Biology, 2007 Damon Runyon Fellowships from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The three-year award recognizes outstanding postdocs conducting innovative basic and translational cancer research. Dr. Bai is investigating key features in promoter architecture and chromatin structure that govern the transcription of cell cycle regulated genes. Dr. Debler is researching core structures of the nuclear pore complex (NPC). Chromosomal translocations of NPC proteins are linked to various types of cancer, including myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. More