Current Issue: November 6, 2009


Short sharp science. Communications and Public Affairs has added a Twitter feed to the university’s social media presence (see Rockefeller’s Facebook profile and YouTube channel). To stay up-to-date on the latest findings from Rockefeller labs, visit


Labs take shape in Collaborative Research Center

CRCFor more photos and video of the construction progress, visit

A little over two years after the jackhammers and bobcats first went to work on Smith Hall, the end is in sight, and the work on the Collaborative Research Center has progressed both on time and on budget. By late October, work crews from Turner Construction and its subcontractors were installing the last of the lab benches in the renovated floors of Smith Hall (right) and were beginning finishing work in the atrium and meeting rooms of the bridging building. The building’s mechanical systems, now fully installed, will undergo a battery of tests during the winter months to ensure they work at peak capacity and efficiency. Smith and the bridging building are expected to be open by next summer. More

High honors for Friedman, Fuchs

The scientific community’s spotlight was focused on Rockefeller University at the start of this academic year when two faculty members — Marilyn M. Simpson Professor Jeffrey M. Friedman and Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor Elaine Fuchs — each received two highly prestigious prizes. In June, Dr. Friedman received the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine and in September he was awarded a share of the Keio Medical Science Prize, one of Japan’s highest scientific awards. Last month, United States President Barack Obama presented Dr. Fuchs with the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor, and she was also awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award in Life Sciences, which honors exceptional women scientists. More

Cost containment measures

This message is reprinted from a letter sent to campus via e-mail on October 28.

As part of the cost containment initiative that the administration launched as a consequence of the economic downturn, we have recently examined the range of events held annually on campus. We have decided to make some changes, with the aim of cutting back on our spending. We will be canceling some events and reducing the scale of others, particularly in the provision of catering. More

Environmental health and safety program wins award


The Office of Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health members
On the safe side. The Office of Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health, from left to right: James Gugluzza, Amy Wilkerson, Anthony Santoro, Rebecca Lonergan, Frank Schaefer, Anthony Harper, Gaitree McNab, Beth Fitzgerald and Elsie Calo.

Probing the depths of human disease often means being up close and personal with hazardous materials. Even so, Rockefeller University has been named one of the safest campuses in the country. In New Orleans this July, Amy Wilkerson, associate vice president for research support, accepted on behalf of The Rockefeller University an Award of Honor from the Campus Safety, Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA). One of only two such awards conferred this year, the honor recognizes the university’s comprehensive safety program.

Established in 1954, CSHEMA is the leading professional environmental health and safety organization for the college and university sector. As part of its mission to encourage creative problem solving and address emerging health and safety challenges among member institutions, CSHEMA instituted its awards program in 1972. Applicant institutions are evaluated on a point system; the Award of Honor, which requires a score of 90 percent or higher, is CSHEMA’s highest. Rockefeller University, a member since the early 1980s, applied for the first time this year. More

Alumnus Robert Sapolsky honored with 2008 Lewis Thomas Prize


Robert SapolskyIt is a rare child who dreams of growing up to be a mountain gorilla. When, for young Robert Morris Sapolsky, such lofty aspirations proved less than feasible, he decided on the next most exciting life — becoming a scientist. Upon graduating with a Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in 1984, Dr. Sapolsky began what would become a lifelong, passionate pursuit studying the baboons of the East African Serengeti Plain. The fruit of that labor, a book aptly titled A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, has won numerous awards. At a ceremony in Caspary Auditorium on June 2, Rockefeller added to the acclaim with the 2008 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. More

Tenure awarded to RNA researcher Thomas Tuschl


Thomas TuschlBiochemist Thomas Tuschl, head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of RNA Molecular Biology, has been awarded tenure and promoted to professor. Dr. Tuschl, who studies the mechanisms by which RNA can regulate genes, has been instrumental in uncovering the intricate roles played by microRNAs in gene expression. The new appointment, approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this year, was effective July 1.


New measures tighten ship on security protocols


At the gates, behind the cameras and at every electronic lock, campus security is watching. And since last winter, they’ve been watching a little more closely. In an effort to patch gaps in the university’s security protocols, Director of Security James Rogers, in conjunction with Plant Operations and Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health, has in the past few months implemented several new initiatives designed to better protect the community and increase emergency preparedness. “We don’t want to change the mind-set or the free-and-easy access to the campus, but we do want to keep everyone safe,” says Mr. Rogers. “So our goal with these initiatives has been to make them as unnoticeable as possible.” Visit the newly revamped Security Web site for more information: More

New library Web site launches


The university’s library has a rich history — it has been the campus repository for scientific journals and textbooks since it opened in 1906. But while once it was mostly accessed via a reading room on the first floor of Founder’s Hall, today the gateway to that repository is primarily an electronic one. As part of a refurbishment and modernization plan outlined in 2006, the Rita and Frits Markus Library and Scientific Information Commons last month launched its revamped Web site, complete with a more streamlined user interface and new, more comprehensive archival and research tools. Working with teams in Information Technology and the Office of General Counsel, the library staff is positioning the new site to address challenges that are particular to research communities in the age of new media. More



Sreekanth H. Chalasani and Shai Shaham, finalists in the 2009 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. Dr. Chalasani, a postdoc in Cori Bargmann’s Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, will receive a grant of $5,000. Dr. Shaham, head of the Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, will receive $10,000. The competition winners, who will receive additional funds, will be announced at the New York Academy of Sciences’ annual Science and the City gala on November 16. More