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The Rockefeller University


Founded by John D. Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was incorporated on June 14, 1901. It was the first institution in the United States devoted solely to biomedical research--to understanding the underlying causes of disease.

Today, renamed Rockefeller University, it is one of the foremost research centers in the world, contributing to 23 Nobel Prizes as well as numerous other awards.

Rockefeller University Community

  • 71 heads of laboratories
  • 200 research and clinical scientists
  • 350 postdoctoral investigators
  • 1,050 support staff
  • 150 Ph.D. students
  • 50 M.D.-Ph.D. students
  • 887 alumni
Areas of basic interdisciplinary research
  • biochemistry, structural biology and chemistry
  • molecular, cell and developmental biology
  • immunology, virology and microbiology
  • medical sciences and human genetics
  • neuroscience
  • physics and mathematical biology
Revolutionary accomplishments

Rockefeller University researchers achieved many of the last century's seminal advances in the biomedical sciences, including:
  • Discovering that DNA is the basic material of heredity (1944)
  • Determining that cancer can be caused by a virus (1911)
  • Confirming the connection between cholesterol and heart disease (1950s)
  • Developing methadone maintenance for people addicted to heroin (1960s)
  • Developing the AIDS "cocktail" drug therapy (1990s)
Seventy-four laboratories form the university's core

The university's laboratory-based organizational structure "without walls" and pared-down layers of administration do away with the schools and academic departments that too often separate scientists. "This approach fosters a tremendously rich soup of interdisciplinary research and collaboration," says Rockefeller professor and Nobel laureate Günter Blobel.

Acclaimed scientists

In its history, Rockefeller has been associated with 23 Nobel laureates and 19 Lasker Award recipients. Five faculty members have been named MacArthur Fellows and 12 have garnered the National Medal of Science, the highest science award given by the United States. And, 33 Rockefeller faculty are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Partnerships with other leading institutions

Rockefeller has close ties with neighboring Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Additional academic partnerships with the Courant Institute of New York University and Bard College provide students with a rich array of training opportunities. Rockefeller forges collaborations with biotech and pharmaceutical companies as needed to speed research findings into development to improve patient care.

Clinical research hospital

In 1910, Rockefeller scientists founded the nation's first hospital devoted exclusively to experimental medicine. The Rockefeller University Hospital's only patients are participants in clinical trials building on basic research findings from Rockefeller labs. This "allows the university to maintain an unbroken spectrum of research, from basic to clinical," says Joshua Lederberg, Nobel laureate and Rockefeller president emeritus. Unburdened by constraints of standard patient care, the hospital is a vital component of Rockefeller's commitment to accelerating basic research findings on their route from bench to bedside for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Studies are under way on AIDS/ HIV, obesity, hepatitis C and addictive diseases.

More than science

Artistic and intellectual activity flourishes on Rockefeller's campus. The verdant grounds, situated on Manhattan's Upper East Side, boast a world-class art collection. The university regularly hosts events designed to explore the intuitive connection between science and the arts.Weekly and monthly recital series grace the university's spectacular auditorium, and a variety of exhibits regularly take shape on campus -currently including sculpture on temporary exhibition from New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Select graduate student body

A class of Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students from across the United States and the world works closely with international faculty in a rigorous, highly personalized program of graduate study and research. The university offers graduate students access and opportunities to work with leading scientists, as well as full financial support and affordable on- and off-campus housing.

University budget

Funding the research studies of The Rockefeller University's scientists are the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, private gifts and endowment income.

Health conditions under study

  • addiction
  • aging
  • AIDS
  • Alzheimer's
  • antibiotic resistance
  • arthritis
  • cancer
  • Chagas disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • hepatitis C
  • hereditary diseases
  • memory loss with aging
  • neurological disorders
  • obesity
  • psoriasis
  • schizophrenia
  • tuberculosis
The Rockefeller University Summary

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