Chu is one of dozens of researchers on Cornell's Ithaca campus involved in a cross-campus research partnership. On both the Ithaca and WCMC campuses, researchers are paying more attention to ways their work might benefit from the added expertise of colleagues on the other end of the laboratory-to-bedside pipeline. Tools like videoconferencing and the Cornell campus-to-campus bus service (which has plans to improve accessibility over the coming months) are making the process easier. And the administration is fostering such collaborations with seed grants and other support.
As the administrative problem-solving continues, more projects like those conceived by Chu and Yurt are gaining prominence --- and momentum.
Watt Webb, Cornell professor of applied physics and the S.B. Eckert Professor in Engineering, is leading one of the largest efforts: an extensive group of collaborative projects involving multiphoton microscopy (MPM), a technique pioneered in his lab. The projects aim to combine MPM with medical endoscopies to provide images of tissue in situ and in real time, using microscopic fluorescence and harmonic excitation.
Ithaca-New York collaborations are not only in the realm of the super-high-tech. Another collaboration, the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA), is deeply rooted in the idea that the campuses' resources complement each other in unique ways. In CITRA's case, the resources include theoreticians and social scientists in Ithaca, research clinicians from the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at WCMC and researchers at the Psychiatric Division of the Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry in Westchester County.
"The integration of basic science and engineering with clinical science is a necessity for those who want to take academic research lab findings to the real world," says Chu. "This partnership between Ithaca and Weill Cornell campuses provides Cornell scientists like me with the golden opportunity to take academic innovations closer to clinical reality for touching someone's real life."