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UHA December 2003 Newsletter
   December 1, 2003


UHA NEWS - Volume 4, Number 10 * December 2003

Center for Medical Science construction nears completion

    Construction of the 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Center for Medical Science is nearly complete, with the last tenant scheduled to move into the five-story research facility by the end of January.
    The Center for Medical Science is situated on the University Heights campus, and is adjacent to the David Axelrod Institute of the Wadsworth Center (New York State Department of Health).
    Research laboratories from the Albany College of Pharmacy and the Ordway Research Institute, Inc., are housed at the CMS. Also housed within the research facility are divisions of the Wadsworth Center, which include the Division of Genetic Disorder, X-Ray Crystallography and the Division of Lab Quality Certification.
    According to facility manager Russ Toombs, the CMS is “98 percent complete.” He said that construction teams presently are working to customize the remaining laboratory space to the needs of the scientists. According to Toombs, the final tenant, Health Research Inc./Center for Bioinformatics, another division of the Wadsworth Center, will take up residency in January.
    The concept behind the CMS, said Charitable Leadership Foundation CEO Richard C. Liebich, was to create a place where scientists could work in collaboration within an inter-institutional setting. The result would be acceleration in the development of medical cures in the areas of cancer, host defenses and emerging infections, nerve and heart cell rescue, and genomics and pharmacogenomics. The Clifton Park-based Charitable Leadership Foundation provided the funds for the $56 million CMS project.
    “Solid scientific collaboration is what we are about,” said Liebich. “The Center for Medical Science has been carefully designed to capitalize on the scientific strengths already in place here in the Capital District, particularly through our two partnering organizations, the Wadsworth Center and Albany Medical College.”
    Construction on the CMS began in March 2002 and included laboratories, conference rooms and offices for scientists and support staff. Construction had been hampered by last winter’s weather, which “prevented us from being able to get the building enclosed so that we could do the brickwork and plumbing. That’s what made the going difficult,” explained Toombs. The CMS’ first tenants moved into the research facility in July.
    The building includes public areas where scientists can meet to discuss ongoing research initiatives. Study will include investigation into developing diseases, such as the West Nile Virus, and how to save brain and heart cells from destruction following stroke or heart attack. Making use of information compiled from sequencing the human genome, researchers will investigate the development of new drugs. Research teams also will consider how cancer cells develop a resistance to chemotherapy, and how that resistance can be overcome.
    Also part of the project was a 650 space parking garage, the construction of which has been completed as well, Toombs said.
    Charitable Leadership Foundation is a private family foundation, which has areas of interest in housing, education, medical research and technology, and medical affairs.

Celebration of First Night Albany 2004 - "Family and Friends" to take place on December 31, 2003

Join Mayor Jerry Jennings for First Night® Albany 2004, downtown’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.  The theme for this year is “Family and Friends” – a fitting focus for this non-alcohol, community event highlighting entertainment for all ages. First Night® Albany features performances ranging from musicians to magicians, from kids’ crafts to psychics, and music from swing to ska in more than 30 locations throughout downtown.   
     Admission to the event requires a First Night® Albany 2004 button. Buttons will be available for $10 ($12 after 12/25) at participating Price Chopper supermarkets, as well as at the Downtown Albany BID, City Hall and the Albany Visitors Center. 
    For the sixth consecutive year, participating downtown merchants will join the festivities and extend a special discount or offer to patrons who present a First Night button.  Offers at the merchants are good from Dec. 1, 2003 – Jan. 31, 2004.
    For information about First Night® Albany, please call the City Office of Special Events at 434-2032 or log on to


Thoughts from the Interim Director:

"On behalf of everyone here at UHA, I would like to wish all of you, our loyal supporters, a wondrous holiday season. We greet 2004 with anticipation and the belief that UHA will be an integral part of Albany’s exciting future."





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