20th Anniversary Advocacy Awards

Academic Medical Center Patrons' Stories of Life-Saving Research

As part of Research!America's commemoration of our 20th Anniversary, we asked the academic medical centers who were patron-level sponsors of our 2009 Advocacy Awards dinner to provide examples of their life-saving research. Here are the results.


  • Discovered restriction enzymes, "biochemical scissors," and showed how they can be used to analyze DNA, creating new field of genetic engineering (1969-70); awarded Nobel prize in 1978. Were among the first to isolate and cultivate human embryonic stem cells (1998)
  • Developed CPR, the technique of closed-chest cardiac massage to keep inert or fibrillating hearts pumping blood (1958). Linked a single gene defect to symptoms of Marfan syndrome (1954), launching the discipline of clinical genetics; won a Lasker Award in 1997
  • Isolated p53 gene and linked to progression of colon cancer, launching decade-long series of genetic discoveries related to colon cancer (1989). Developed inexpensive, safe and effective drug regimen for preventing HIV transmission from infected mother to newborn (1999)
  • Developed "blue baby" operation to correct congenital heart defects, ushering in new era of heart surgery (1944); won Lasker Award in 1954. Discovered Dramamine's effectiveness  in alleviating motion sickness (1948)


  • Researchers at Mount Sinai's Black Family Stem Cell Institute are examining why stem cells function in types of niches, microenvironments, and pockets of activity. Investigators are working to break the code in stem cell communication
  • Erwin Bottinger, MD, and his team explore how an individual's vulnerability to certain conditions and responsiveness to treatments are influenced by genetic information and environmental exposure
  • Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, PhD, helped develop reverse genetics, a technique that allowed Mount Sinai to recreate the influenza virus from recombinant DNA
  • John H. Morrison, PhD, reviews high-magnification images of individual dendritic spines, tentacle-like structures that connect neurons. Dr. Morrison's research explores neurodegenerative disorders and age-related alterations in the brain

  • NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia surpasses 1,000th transplant milestone at its Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation
  • Kidney recipients meet their donors for the first time, after an innovative transplant chain at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell
  • Patient survives 47-story fall and is treated and discharged from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell
  • First reported case in the world: 7-year-old girl has 6 organs removed for cancer tumor surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

  • BWH and MIT researchers created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by the gecko lizard that may be useful for patching surgical wounds and internal injuries
  • Earlier research at BWH found a genetic connection between vitamin D and asthma. A BWH study is in progress to determine if vitamin D supplements given to pregnant women will prevent asthma in their children
  • BWH researchers found a strong connection between closeness to at least one sibling during childhood and having a lower risk of depression in adulthood
  • Optimal dosing of the anticoagulant warfarin is critical to avoid dangerous side effects. BWH's CROWN trial aims to use fast genetic testing to achieve effective and safe warfarin dosing

  • We are solving the tolerance problem in organ transplants, saying good riddance to life-long debilitating anti-rejection drugs
  • Our dramatic new technologies and innovations are making imaging the guiding hand for physicians and surgeons
  • We can detect cancer when no one knows it is there by separating cancer cells from a blood sample. The cancer cells are captured on tiny post-like structures on a credit card-sized device
  • Recent discovery that humans have microRNAs tells us that genes don't work alone. These microRNAs determine which genetic instructions are carried out in human development and in heart failure, cancer and other diseases

Media Contacts

Tim Haynes
Senior Director of Communications 

Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor