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[November 3, 2009]

SUNY Downstate’s Biotech Program Featured in Showcase of New York’s Best in High Tech in Washington, DC

SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s biotechnology initiative was featured in New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Innovation Showcase, which the Senator hosted in the nation's capital on October 28. The event highlighted how SUNY Downstate and New York's other research institutions are driving economic growth.

The event brought together innovators and high-tech leaders from the private sector, academia, and government to discuss the critical role of innovation in job creation, quality of life, and continued global competitiveness. Senator Gillibrand detailed a county-by-county analysis from the New York State Department of Labor suggesting that strategic investments in research and development will spur economic growth in the high-tech sector, and create new jobs for New York.

Downstate's exhibit focused on its Advanced Biotechnology Incubator, the BioBAT project (biotech offices, laboratories, and manufacturing space being developed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal), and a job-training program for bioscience and biotechnology technicians that Downstate developed in collaboration with Hunter College.

The showcase provided a platform for Senator Gillibrand to announce an "Innovation Agenda" -- a five-part economic plan to help generate future jobs for a highly skilled workforce. In addition to encouraging students to pursue degrees in science and math, the Senator's plan would provide funding to construct and expand existing science parks, and to encourage clusters of biotechnology centers as an economic development strategy.

"If passed into law, this could be very good news for SUNY Downstate," said Eva Cramer, PhD, vice president for biotechnology and scientific affairs at Downstate, who is spearheading the institution’s biotech development initiative. Downstate's Advanced Biotechnology Incubator is poised to expand next year to provide space for additional early-stage companies.

Dr. Cramer added that Downstate "has also been leading efforts to make the Brooklyn Army Terminal a center for more established biotechnology companies by developing space for expansion and manufacturing.” It has already attracted the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which leased 38,000 square feet for its AIDS Vaccine Development Laboratory. When fully built out, BioBAT will provide 524,000 square feet of space for bioscience initiatives. The Advanced Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT will attract new biotechnology businesses to the borough and New York City.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.