NIH awards $9.5 million for Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center

Center establishes new cross-institutional immuno-technology core

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Credit: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

July 27, 2020–(BRONX, NY)–Albert Einstein College of Medicine has received a $9.5 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center (ES-DRC). The multi-institutional center is a leader in basic, translational, clinical, and community-based research and training in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.

Einstein first established its diabetes center in 1976 and has long focused its efforts on minority and other underserved populations in the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester county, and across New York City. Five years ago, it expanded into a regional collaborative, partnering with Mount Sinai to increase its capacity to support research studies and services. Today, ES-DRC faculty members include more than 140 scientists and clinicians at Einstein and Montefiore Health System, Mount Sinai, Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College, NYU Langone Medical Center, Stony Brook University, New York Medical College, and Rutgers University.

“Our robust research enterprise is home to highly productive investigators, who together hold more than $90 million in grant funding,” said Jeffrey Pessin, Ph.D., the Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Professorial Chair in Diabetes Research at Einstein and principal investigator on the grant. “With the center’s shared resources, they are pursuing a range of innovative projects–from developing immunotherapeutics to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes to creating and testing an intermittent fasting diet to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

Typically, institutions support their own facilities and collaborators tap into each other’s resources. Dr. Pessin noted that the latest ES-DRC renewal grant funds a new shared Immuno-Technology Core(ITC)–a first for the regional center.

“Our ties to Mount Sinai have become stronger over the past five years,” said Dr. Pessin. “We’ve increased our cross-disciplinary research and saw an opportunity for greater resource sharing. This new core leverages our individual expertise and state-of-the-art technologies to provide new opportunities for investigators pursuing specific, targeted therapies for diabetes.”

“The ES-DRC is one of only 16 NIH DRCs awarded in the entire country,” said Andrew Stewart, M.D., associate director of the ES-DRC, director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine in the department of endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at Mount Sinai. “It has provided a major boost to basic science and clinical diabetes and obesity research and training efforts at both Mount Sinai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and multiple other medical schools in the greater NYC region. The Einstein team has been an extraordinary scientific partner.”

Among one of the newer technology platforms in the ITC is synTac, short for Synapse for T-Cell Activation, that was developed by Steven Almo, Ph.D. , professor and chair of biochemistry and professor of physiology & biophysics at Einstein.

“This technology can be used to activate or suppress immune responses,” said Dr. Pessin. “The ITC will include use of the synTac platform for studies on type 1 diabetes, high-resolution imaging, and powerful analytic tools to probe cell populations and tissue samples as we seek to discover new therapeutics that can be tested in future clinical trials.”

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The ITC will be co-directed by Teresa DiLorenzo, Ph.D., professor of microbiology & immunology and of medicine at Einstein, and Dirk Homann, M.D., professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The grant, titled “Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center,” was awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the NIH (2P30DK020541-45). The ES-DRC also receives support from the New York Obesity Research Center (NYORC), the Center for the Study of Diabetic Complications, and the Montefiore Clinical Diabetes Center.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2019-20 academic year, Einstein is home to 724 M.D. students, 158 Ph.D. students, 106 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program ( http://www.einstein.yu.edu/education/mstp/), and 265 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,800 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2019, Einstein received more than $178 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit http://www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter), like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.

About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 11 hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and close to 200 outpatient care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information please visit http://www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter and view us on Facebook and YouTube.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care–from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Elaine Iandoli
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