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Mount Sinai, Rensselaer Harness Clinical Medicine, R&D, Computing Synergies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – In an effort to leverage their respective capabilities in biomedical and engineering research, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said today they have struck a new partnership to create collaborative R&D and educational programs.

The institutes plan to harness Sinai's strength in clinical research and in moving inventions toward commercialization with Rensselaer's engineering, industrial development, and computing chops to develop complementary research programs in genomics, cancer, neuroscience, and cardiovascular diseases.

The collaborators inked an alliance agreement cementing the plan, under which they will seek out joint funding for their research programs in precision medicine, stem cell biology, drug discovery, cellular engineering, computational biology, robotics, and imaging techniques.

Mount Sinai's Hess Center for Science and Medicine and Rensselaer's Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary studies will serve as the core hubs for the joint programs.

Both partners will bring high-performance computing to the partnership, as Mount Sinai has invested $3 million to build a Minerva supercomputer and Rensselaer has a high-performance computing center that features an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputing system. These facilities will enable the collaborators to produce sophisticated algorithms to analyze genomic data and create new predictive disease models.

Under the plan, the institutes also will create the Collaborative Center for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will house efforts to take basic research projects from the lab and turn them into new patents and startup companies. This center will join with Mount Sinai's Center for Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

The partners also will use their existing doctoral programs create joint graduate educational programs in a range of disciplines that focuses on translational basic sciences.

The initiative also will provide new research opportunities in R&D and clinical research to students at both Mount Sinai and Rensselaer, and there will be cross-listed courses for students at both institutions.

"In terms of medicine, the linkage between technological universities and medical schools has never been more urgent," Jonathan Dordick, VP for research and a chemical engineering professor at Rensselaer, said in a statement.

"With high competition for funding and with the pharmaceutical industry investing less in research and development, institutions with complementary strengths must partner to revolutionize biomedical research," added Dennis Charney, dean of the Icahn School at Mount Sinai and executive VP for Academic Affairs at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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