January 20, 2013

Cornell Vet School Receives $6 Million Gift to Boost Research

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The College of Veterinary Medicine has received a $6-million gift that it will use to create two new endowed professorships — positions that will allow the college ­to conduct research on animal health.

President David Skorton said the gift will address a pressing need for research funding within the vet school.

“[The college’s] strengths make it a world leader in discovering the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases and in accelerating the development of treatments that benefit animals,” Skorton said in a University press release. “Given the limited availability of federal funding for animal health, private support is critical in advancing this work. We are extremely grateful to the Starr Foundation for partnering with Cornell to improve animal health around the world.”

The college received the donation from the Starr Foundation, an organization that provides grants supporting a variety of fields, including medicine, public policy and education. Maurice Greenberg, chair of the Starr Foundation, said the organization provided the grant to the veterinary college because it “recognizes the importance of veterinary research.”

“We rely on animals in our economy and our lives, and their diseases often are related to human diseases,” Greenberg said in the press release. “This grant is part of Starr’s larger commitment to human cancer and genomics research, and will advance our understanding of infectious diseases that spread between animals and humans.”

While the college has not determined the specific research that the new professors will conduct, Michael Kotlikoff, dean of the vet school, emphasized its commitment to advancing canine genetic research.

“This commitment will help us achieve our vision for clinical research, discoveries and treatments related to cancer and other complex diseases with a genetic basis,” Kotlikoff said in the press release. “We are deeply grateful for the Starr Foundation’s generosity.”

The grant from the Starr Foundation followed an anonymous gift to the veterinary college dedicated to canine genomics research, which will fund new professorships and faculty startups, according to the press release. The college has already begun new research on cancer, liver, heart and blood diseases in both humans and animals.

Kotlikoff touted the benefits that the new professorships will provide to the college’s research efforts.

“The [professorships] will allow the college to recruit and retain some of the most respected minds in veterinary science, people who will drive the development of new treatments, vaccines and therapies,” Kotlikoff said in the press release. “We will all benefit from the new knowledge created by their cutting-edge discoveries in medical science.”

Original Author: Kerry Close