TOM MANIATIS APPOINTED SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NEW YORK GENOME CENTER
Molecular Biology Pioneer Maniatis Will Lead Organization’s Next Phase of Growth Board Leadership Confirms Its Philanthropic Support
The New York Genome Center (NYGC) announced today that Tom Maniatis, PhD, will serve as its Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer.
One of the founders of the NYGC, Maniatis is the Isidore S. Edelman Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University, and the founding director of the University’s Precision Medicine Initiative. A visionary scientist who joined with some of the City’s most generous and forward-thinking civic leaders in 2011 to establish the Center, he has served on the Center’s Board of Directors and in other leadership capacities since the Center’s inception. A pioneer of modern molecular biology, Maniatis led the development of gene cloning technology and its application to the study of basic science, medicine and biotechnology.
Maniatis’ acceptance of this leadership role at the NYGC is coupled with the announcement of additional philanthropic commitments by Board members Jim Simons and Russ Carson. The Simons Foundation and The Carson Family Charitable Trust will increase their current support and will underwrite the activities and growth planned for the NYGC under Maniatis’ leadership through the end of 2018. They have also committed to extend substantial support to the Center in the years to follow.
“With Tom Maniatis at the helm of our organization, the New York Genome Center is poised to play a central and critical role in the New York science and medical community,” said Jim Simons. “I am grateful for his commitment to lead the Center, and as he starts his tenure, the Simons Foundation will help provide the philanthropic backing necessary for the NYGC to flourish now and for many years to come.”
Board Co-Chair Russ Carson said, “We are pleased that Tom has agreed to lead the New York Genome Center at this important point in its evolution. Tom’s original vision framed the foundation of the NYGC. He is uniquely qualified to further the collaborative work essential to making discoveries that will strengthen our research capabilities and advance genomic science for the benefit of patients. It’s a pleasure for my family to support his appointment by increasing our strong commitment to the organization.”
“I asked Tom Maniatis to direct Columbia’s Precision Medicine Initiative not only because he is a pioneering scientist, but also because he understands the breadth of complex issues we as a society must address in realizing the full potential of genetic science,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger. “While Tom continues helping us integrate medical genetics with basic science, the humanities and social sciences at Columbia, we look forward to his expanded leadership of NYGC’s important work in this vital area of research.”
“Tom is the obvious choice for this key position, and his appointment strengthens the New York Genome Center and its role in the scientific community of the city and beyond,” said Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and Chief Executive of Columbia University Medical Center. “We are also pleased that in addition to these new responsibilities at the NYGC, he will be maintaining his Columbia laboratory and continuing as a scientific leader at our university.”
“With the continued support of the NYGC distinguished Board, and in partnership with our exceptional founding academic and medical institutions, we are poised to play an important role in the genomic discoveries that will advance precision medicine in New York City and beyond,” Maniatis said. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with NYGC President and Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Moore, and I am particularly appreciative of the generous support that the Simons Foundation and The Carson Family Charitable Trust will provide to help us realize our potential.”
At the NYGC, Maniatis and Moore will work on setting the strategic agenda for the organization. “I am excited to work with Tom on the opportunities we have discussed over the past several months. His expert leadership will further enhance the scientific contributions of the NYGC. I am grateful to Russ and Jim for their ongoing support for the Center’s important work to advance discoveries and innovation in genomics,” Moore said.
Over the past three years, the Center has developed a strong, clinically-focused research team. Maniatis and Moore are particularly interested in fostering additional collaborative projects with the Center’s members that will harness the knowledge and expertise of researchers and physicians across the City. They are partnering with NYGC Senior Associate Core Member and Weill Cornell Medicine Lewis Thomas University Professor Harold Varmus, MD, and Charles Sawyers, MD, Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program; Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to further the NYGC’s initiatives in cancer through its Genome Center Cancer Group.
As Scientific Director and CEO, Maniatis will lead the research activities of the NYGC, including technology development and informatics, and direct the faculty and scientists in their individual and collaborative projects. Last year, the NYGC sequenced over 20,000 whole genomes and completed 1,000 research projects with more than 260 investigators at 89 institutions worldwide. NYGC scientists collaborated on a broad range of research studies in areas such as pediatric and adult cancer, asthma, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and other serious neurodegenerative diseases. With Maniatis’ appointment, it is expected that the number of collaborative projects will grow and additional Federal grants, foundation and individual philanthropic support will be secured.
Maniatis co-authored the definitive laboratory manual on genetic engineering, the Molecular Cloning Manual, along with Joe Sambrook and Ed Fritsch in 1982. This three-volume manual published by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has profoundly impacted the international dissemination of laboratory methods required for genomic research. Maniatis’ laboratory at Columbia University has made major advances in understanding genome-based molecular mechanisms in cell and molecular biology. His current research is focused on the role of single cell diversity in neural connectivity, and on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the neurodegenerative disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Maniatis’ research contributions have been acknowledged by membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and by numerous awards, including the Eli Lilly Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology, the Richard Lounsbery Award given by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the French Académie des Sciences, and the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.
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About the New York Genome Center
The New York Genome Center is an independent, nonprofit academic research institution at the forefront of transforming biomedical research and clinical care. Founded as a collaborative venture by the region’s premier academic, medical and industry leaders, the New York Genome Center’s goal is to translate genomic research into new diagnostics, therapeutics and treatments for human disease. NYGC member organizations and partners are united in this unprecedented collaboration of technology, science and medicine, designed to harness the power of innovation and discoveries to advance genomic services. Their shared objective is the acceleration of medical genomics and precision medicine to benefit patients around the world.
Member institutions include: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, American Museum of Natural History, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Hospital for Special Surgery, The Jackson Laboratory, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, The New York Stem Cell Foundation, New York University, Northwell Health, Princeton University, The Rockefeller University, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Stony Brook University, Weill Cornell Medicine and IBM.
For more information on the NYGC, please visit www.nygenome.org.
Karen Zipern, Director, Communications, NYGC