AECOM facility focuses on research

AECOM officials, Bronx dignitaries and the heralded philanthropists who made the day possible - (l-r) Councilman Jimmy Vacca; Michael Price; Dr. Allen Spiegel; Muriel Block; Dr. Richard M. Joel; Richard Belfer; Muriel Block; and Irving Baumrind - cut the ribbon on the new Price Center/Block Research Pavilion.

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine officially cut the ribbon on its Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion on June 12, with a garden party, marking the first major research facility built in the Bronx in over 50 years.    

The Price Center/Block Research Pavilion programs encompass genetics, stem cell science, cellular imaging, systems and computational biology, vaccines and drug design.

The Center emphasizes the collaborative effort among these programs to provide a venue to combat common diseases such as diabetes and obesity, as well as study the relationship of genetics to the contraction of diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

“These are diseases that disproportionately affect Bronxites, and we’re looking to make progress on these diseases,” said Dr. Allen Spiegel, the college’s dean. 

 Michael F. Price, whose gift made the Center possible, was on hand, as was Muriel Block, another contributing philanthropist, who spoke of the long-term vision for the center.

 “Creative collaboration can help to both prevent disease and develop cures,” said Price. “The promise of the new center is that it will play a pivotal role in advancing the College’s tradition of fostering scientific cooperation among its own faculty and with investigators at major medical centers around the world.”

Steven Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, hit home the affect of the new center to Bronx health care patients. 

“The opening of the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion heralds the importance of translational research in bringing medical breakthroughs to patients more quickly through a working partnership of scientists and clinicians,” he said.  “This is great news for patients and families in the communities we serve.”

Another highlight of the architectural gem is a spiral staircase, reminiscent of the DNA double helix, which joins the floors’ common areas in an open atrium, representing the innovative vision of the building. 

 “Medicine in the 21st century is poised to make breakthrough discoveries with new technologies,” said Richard Joel, a onetime Bronx deputy chief of appeals and current president of Yeshiva University. “The scientific teams in the Price Center are among the international leaders who make these discoveries possible, and that is the excitement generated by the Center’s opening.”

An advocate for seniors, Councilman Jimmy Vacca spoke of his pride to represent the institution and its work to improve the quality of lives.

“I’m proud to have Einstein here in the Bronx and here in my district,” Vacca said.  “You give us the belief that here in the Bronx, we’ll find miracles.”

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