• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Receives $1 Million as an Inaugural Recipient of NYFIRST Medical School Grant From New York State

Julius C. Hedden, III, PhD, recruited to Mount Sinai to apply innovative imaging techniques to research Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

  • New York, NY
  • (April 09, 2019)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) as one of the inaugural grant recipients from the New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent (NYFIRST). NYFIRST is a $15 million medical school capital funding program to encourage recruitment and retention of exceptional life sciences researchers who are focused on translational research by supporting the establishment or upgrading of their laboratories. Each of the inaugural recipient institutions—Mount Sinai, Columbia University, and the University of Rochester—is bringing top-notch translational research talent to New York from prominent research institutions across the country.

Through the NYFIRST award, the Icahn School of Medicine has recruited Julius C. Hedden III, PhD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Hedden’s research focuses on applying innovative imaging techniques for age-related neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. His laboratory at Mount Sinai focuses on integrating multiple brain markers to help build a comprehensive picture of the relationship between brain function and cognition during aging and neurodegenerative disease.  Dr. Hedden’s lab is part of the school’s Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, an institute that provides and assists the research community’s access to and use of a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, dynamic imaging infrastructure with a focus on using multimodality imaging for brain, cancer, and cardiovascular research.

“This generous investment by New York State made it possible for Icahn School of Medicine to recruit Dr. Hedden, a world leader in the use of advanced brain imaging to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” says Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, Director of The Friedman Brain Institute, and Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “He will play an essential role in guiding our multidisciplinary research team in the search for new treatments for these devastating illnesses.  We are thrilled to have him join our ranks and we look forward to partnering with the state in an effort to help New York become the epicenter for the biosciences.”

Dr. Hedden’s published work, which has appeared in more than 70 primary research articles, examines behavioral and neuroimaging measures of age-related changes in memory and executive control processes. His current research integrates measures of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with positron emission tomography (PET) markers of tau and amyloid accumulation (the hallmark proteins associated with Alzheimer’s), PET markers of dopamine dysfunction, PET markers of glucose metabolism, and MRI markers of white matter to target potential preclinical Alzheimer’s-related neuropathology in otherwise normal older individuals. 

NYFIRST makes a maximum grant of $1 million available to eligible institutional applicants (medical schools in New York State) to modernize, renovate, and upgrade laboratory facilities to attract world-class scientists. Program grant awards are made through a competitive grant solicitation and the grantee institutions are required to provide $2 in matching funds for every $1 of NYFIRST program assistance. Scientific talent recruited or retained must demonstrate a history of translational research and be actively pursuing research on an innovative solution for an unmet clinical need. The researcher is also required to demonstrate a clear path to commercialization with the potential for significant life sciences economic development benefits in New York State, such as increased patent applications and patentable discoveries, increased recruitment/retention of medical school faculty focused on translational research, or an increase in the number of life sciences jobs created or retained.

“Life sciences is a critical and growing industry in New York State, and each of these institutions are reflective of the phenomenal talent, research and applied knowledge that have thrived here,” Governor Cuomo said. “I congratulate the recipients of the NYFIRST medical school grants and look forward to seeing them further bolster the budding life sciences industry in the Empire State.”


About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.

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