Current Issue: May 9, 2008

Announcements

Convocation is June 12. This year’s 26 graduates commemorate 50 years of degree-granting excellence. Honorary degrees will go to Rockefeller alumni: Gerald M. Edelman, class of 1960, Nina V. Fedoroff, 1972, and Bertil Hille, 1967. The schedule of events:
More

An update on our finances

Even for those of us who don’t closely follow Wall Street, it has been hard to miss the news of the past several months. What began as financial misfortune primarily afflicting homeowners with certain types of mortgages — and the companies that lend to them — has now spread and has come to affect nearly everyone who borrows and invests money. More

Campus power failure likely caused by crane activity

by ZACH VEILLEUX

vault_big

Dead lines. In Founder’s Hall, cables feeding current from the damaged conduit are cut to effect temporary repairs.

An electrical failure that caused power outages in seven labs and dozens of offices in parts of Flexner Hall, Nurses Residence and The Rockefeller University Hospital on March 29 was likely prompted by the weight of a construction crane on 50-year-old conduit that had recently been excavated. The university’s electricians believe the conduit, which contains lines carrying high-voltage current from an electrical vault near the university’s 66th Street gate to the basement of Founder’s Hall, cracked when the crane’s weight caused new topsoil surrounding it to compress.

“Although the exact sequence of events that followed is unknown, it is likely that a combination of shearing force and moisture damaged the lines over a period of two weeks, eventually causing a short that tripped two 4,000-amp circuit breakers, knocking out power,” says Alex Kogan, associate vice president for plant operations. The damaged lines fed the first and second floors of Flexner Hall, all of Nurses Residence and the first, second and third floors and the A and B levels of the hospital. More

A millennium of service

A dinner in Weiss honors 2007 retirements and anniversaries.

2007 was a milestone year for many at Rockefeller University. Twenty employees celebrated anniversaries and 16 people retired. The honorees of this year’s banquet, held in the Weiss Café on April 17, represent nearly 1,200 years of service to The Rockefeller University. More

Scientists get down to business

New Science and Economics Program connects students with finance, law and politics

by TALLEY HENNING BROWN

Geoffrey Smith isn’t a scientist; he’s a businessman. But Rockefeller’s newest graduate instructor believes that successful scientists need basic training in economics and law just as much as they need advanced training in chemistry and genetics. With a new course called “Drug Development: From Discovery to Commercialization,” Mr. Smith, a seasoned health care venture capitalist, is spearheading Rockefeller University’s newly launched Science and Economics Program. Initially conceived during his work with The Rockefeller University Council and the Bridges to Better Medicine Steering Committee, the program is being designed to provide Rockefeller scientists with a greater understanding of the relationships between science on the one hand and economics, law, politics, ethics and society on the other. More

Andreas Dracopoulos elected to Board of Trustees

by TALLEY HENNING BROWN

A DracopoulosAndreas Dracopoulos, a director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is the newest addition to The Rockefeller University Board of Trustees. A longtime supporter of the university’s Women & Science program and other initiatives, Mr. Dracopoulos was elected to the Board on March 12.

Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Mr. Dracopoulos came to the United States in 1982 to attend The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1986 with a B.S. in economics, he worked briefly with Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street investment bank, until he left to join the family business. He is now a director of the Niarchos Family Trust and the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, both established by his great-uncle, the late Stavros Spyros Niarchos, a Greek shipping magnate considered one of the 20th century’s most successful international businessmen. The Niarchos Foundation has a particular interest in promoting Greek cultural heritage, but a large part of its business is international, providing grants to organizations around the world to help provide equal access to opportunity in education, social welfare, health and arts and culture. More

Pearl Meister Greengard Prize honors pioneers of embryonic stem cell research

by TALLEY HENNING BROWN

PMG Prize WinnersThree pioneers of embryonic stem cell research — an embryologist, a molecular geneticist and a developmental biologist — are the recipients of the 2007 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, the university’s award for notable women in science. The award, presented in a ceremony in Caspary Auditorium on March 25, recognized Gail Martin of the University of California, San Francisco, Beatrice Mintz of Fox Chase Cancer Center and Elizabeth Robertson, from the University of Oxford. More

Written on the wall

Graffiti artist Coco 144 reveals his newest work in Bronk
Coco144Electrician Robert Gualtieri’s most important contribution to the recently completed renovation of Bronk’s first floor isn’t in the walls, it’s on them. On Friday, April 4, Mr. Gualtieri, a 20-year employee in Plant Operations, revealed his brightly painted, 8-by-21-foot mural on the south wall of the first-floor hallway. Commissioned by A. James Hudspeth, head of the Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience, the painting is a colorful, interpretive rendering of Dr. Hudspeth’s research into the science of hearing. More

Milestones

Awarded:

Donald Pfaff, an honorary degree from Pace University. The degree will be presented to Dr. Pfaff, head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior, on May 18. More