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Mayor Eric Adams headed to the far West Side on Wednesday to celebrate the opening of an internationally groundbreaking medical research center — part of a growing “biotech corridor” on 11th Avenue. 

Mayor Eric Adams on 11th Avenue
Mayor Eric Adams on 11th Avenue ahead of the opening ceremony for the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The event marked the official opening of the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine (CEPM) at the Hudson Research Center, located at 619 W54th Street (between 11th and 12th Ave), already home to the New York Stem Cell Research Foundation. Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will operate the new facility, using the space to explore new developments in immuno-engineering and neuro-engineering, as well as regenerative and reparative medicine. The research center is the second Mount Sinai-occupied building on the avenue, adjacent to the new outpatient and research center at 787 11th Avenue that also houses a lab operated by researcher Neri Oxman

Officials said the addition of the neighborhood’s new biotech center was proof that New York is leading the charge and dedicating significant new resources to expanding medical research. “In many ways, we’ve planted the seeds in New York for 10, 15 years from now with biotech,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). “We’re investing extraordinary amounts of money…and it’s not just two leading institutions, but it’s a visionary developer in Taconic that’s driven the growth of biotech along this 11th Avenue corridor. Biotech jobs and the future is happening in New York.”

Andrew Kimball and Eric Adams smiling
NYC Economic Development Corporation CEO Andrew Kimball and Mayor Eric Adams look on during the commemoration ceremony. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Mayor Adams related his own struggle with diabetes as reason for the city to keep pushing for more biotech and outpatient research centers. “Drawing from my own personal experience. Diagnosed with severe diabetes, being told that I would be blind in a year, maybe losing some fingers and toes — and merely because I went beyond living with a chronic disease and moved into the uncomfortable zone of reversing the chronic disease, it opened up the opportunities,” he said. “We’re entering the universe of reversal and prevention and proper diagnosis. How exciting can that be?”

Dennis S Charney, Dean of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai described the new facility as “taking another step” toward “making discoveries that will change the face of medicine.” He said: “Our medical school is committed to scientific discovery and changing the lives of our patients, not just publishing papers and top journals are getting grants from NIH (the National Institutes of Health) —  but to learn from our patients, our scientists working together with our patients to change their lives and nothing less. We’re going to be able to make changes that we didn’t think were even possible just a few years ago — it’s going to enhance our ability to prevent, predict, and develop new treatments for patients with the most serious of diseases.” 

New Laboratories RPI Research Mount Sinai
The new research laboratories at 619 W54th Street. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Speaking of Mount Sinai’s might in pushing healthcare advancements, Charney added: “We’re the largest health system in New York City. We take care of millions of patients on an outpatient basis and hundreds of thousands of patients in our hospitals. So the amount of data that we are going to be able to access and to develop new ideas about these diseases and develop new treatments together is unprecedented.” 

While Mount Sinai, MIT and Rensselaer have now firmly established a Hell’s Kitchen research basecamp, Mayor Adams acknowledged that the road to convincing others of the value of scientific innovation is not always easy. “We are at the precipice of the 1883 moment today — when we opened the Brooklyn Bridge and allowed two islands to be connected — that’s where we are in science and medicine,” said Adams. “We are moving away from the old theories and concepts of generalizing the impacts of these chronic diseases and understanding the individual aspects of them. Just as we have individual fingerprints that are unique to who we are, so too is our body makeup. The thoughts of microbiomes and neuroplasticity of the brain and neuron connections and how various medicines impact us in a unique way is beyond imagination where we are about to go,” he added. 

“But just like in 1883 — some people stepped on that bridge with trepidation and fear, unsure of what would happen when they walked across,” said the mayor. “Mount Sinai and RPI are holding our hands and telling us it’s going to be alright. We did not think we would see this day in our lifetime  — because of this partnership, not only are we going to see it in our lifetime, we are going to extend our lifetime, and I’m looking forward to this and I’m happy. I was not there in 1883, but I’m here in 2023.” 

Mayor Eric Adams speaking at Mt Sinai facility
Mayor Eric Adams shared his own experience with diabetes as formative to his commitment to expanding medical research. Photo: Phil O’Brien

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  1. Can you please follow up with a report on what programs and projects as well as research and grants approved and seeking approval for medical and engineering research at these facilities. In other words their medical research agenda and any public relations contact info. Thanks

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