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At Cornell

One Biology, One Medicine,
and One University

Susan Pannullo
Stephen Kresovich

Stephen Kresovich

This issue of Connecting with Cornell features an impressive breadth and depth of activities between the two Cornell campuses and highlights collaborations that prove to be greater than the sum of the individual research and educational efforts.

These “value added” partnerships represent Cornell’s excellence in the medical, veterinary, life, and social sciences and highlight our ability to forge interdisciplinary bridges that build on our historical strengths in the physical sciences, computer sciences, and engineering. Most importantly, as we move into the twenty-first century, these examples also highlight the concept of “one biology, one medicine, and one university,” where advances in one particular scientific discipline at Cornell resonate in others and ultimately manifest themselves as means to improve the human condition.

I would also like to highlight a few personal observations regarding the intercampus activities. First, in just a few years we have made great progress in linking research and educational priorities across the campuses. Though it’s difficult to get an exact count, I believe that more than 100 formal and informal collaborations are underway, and activities can be found in almost every college. In particular, strong alliances are building in biomedical engineering, surgery, cell and molecular biology, nanobiotechnology, population and computational biology, biomedical sciences, global health, communication, and clinical and translational sciences. Second, the progress to date highlights a complementary approach to building connections that involves thoughtful support and leadership from senior administrators and committed alumni and friends, but this progress also highlights “grassroots” activities where tenacious and innovative investigators seek out the best partners for building unique research opportunities. A thoughtful seed grants program (initially established with support from Board of Trustees Chair Peter C. Meinig), planned retreats among units, shared life sciences research core facilities, an intercampus bus service, an intercampus website, and VIVO (Cornell’s virtual life sciences library) have facilitated connections among investigators. Third, as we look to the future, these new constellations of cooperating faculty members will set the agenda for the training of our undergraduate and graduate students in new ways. Manifestations of these working relationships include new course offerings in biomedical engineering, nanobiotechnology, and nutritional sciences.

I am unable to predict how the special collaborations will evolve in the future, but I am certain that the unity of biology, medicine, and the university will lead to scientific breakthroughs and innovative educational opportunities for Cornellians for generations to come. These advances ultimately will improve our well being locally, nationally, and globally.


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