The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

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name = The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
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city = Manhasset
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cience at the Feinstein Institute

Established in 1999, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is a unique research institute on the grounds of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Manhasset, NY. Over 200 Feinstein investigators work to cure human disease, which is the driving force behind all of the Institute’s activities —from basic science experiments and clinical investigations to the technology transfer standards, graduate school courses, investigative medicine seminars and community outreach programs. The Feinstein bridges the gap between biomedical research and patient care, accessing hundreds of thousands of patients in the health system. Scientists collaborate with clinicians throughout the North Shore-LIJ Health System (including North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center to identify critical unanswered questions relating to diseases, and carry out research to shed light on basic biological processes underlying disease. Patients participate in clinical trials related to the use of experimental drugs that are in various stages of clinical and preclinical testing for cancer, cardiac disease, sepsis, shock, trauma, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. The institute stands out for its expertise in autoimmune and inflammatory disaeses as well as neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The volume of National Institutes of Health-funded, patient-oriented research programs in the Feinstein Institute is significant: Over 80% of their research projects come under the category of patient-oriented research, and nearly 65% of these projects are supported by federal grants.

The Feinstein manages the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine, a degree granting body chartered by the State University of New York, which confers medical school graduates, pursuing a career in research, with the PhD degree in molecular medicine. The Feinstein publishes Molecular Medicine (journal), an international, peer-reviewed journal, ranked in the top 20th percentile of all research journals, reporting on fast-breaking developments in molecular medicine.

The Feinstein major assets include: The NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center offers state-of-the-art facilities for designing, implementing and conducting clinical research studies in a central location; the NIH-funded Early-Phase Schizophrenia Center focuses on the development of the best treatments for schizophrenia; a Laboratory of Medicinal Biochemistry that complements The Feinstein’s drug discovery efforts, develops and streamlines preclinical testing methods; the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry develops experimental drugs based upon the mechanisms of diseases discovered by our investigators.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System’s institutional commitment to the clinical research infrastructure and to the Feinstein Institute is noteworthy. In the past 20 years, the Health System has invested more than $250 million in the infrastructure necessary to develop a superior clinical research program. These efforts included the recruitment of trained clinical investigators and research nurses, as well as the creation of specialized core facilities. In 2001-2002, the Feinstein Institute built out-patient and in-patient GCRC facilities to centralize these important clinical research elements at a cost of more than $2.5 million. Growth has continued following NCRR funding for the GCRC in 2003, with the addition of new faculty and clinical research programs. In 2006, construction began on a new four-story, 55,000-square-foot addition to the Feinstein Institute research building, dedicated to translational research. It will open in September 2008.
The Feinstein Institute focuses on disease-oriented research so that the findings can translate quickly from bench to bedside. Scientists throughout the North Shore-LIJ Health System, including North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, conducting research tap into the rich biomedical and generic resources at the Feinstein Institute, where over 1,000 basic research and clinical studies are underway. With dozens of independent laboratories manned by world leaders in their scientific fields, many of the findings have altered the way diseases are diagnosed and treated. Feinstein scientists share many interests but there is a special focus is on inflammation and immune disease – and how the body responds to infection. Understanding these processes is leading to ways to alter abnormal immune processes and learn how to use the natural powers of the immune system to treat a wide range of diseases. Feinstein scientists are developing new drugs and drug targets, as well as building the next generation of brain scanning devices that will help unravel the underlying brain mechanisms in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases, as well as the study of dozens of other conditions.


In 1985, North Shore University Hospital constructed, on its Manhasset campus, a state-of-the-art, 120,000 square foot research building to foster the growth of clinical and translational science centers. Clinical research at North Shore University Hospital underwent a major expansion at this time, highlighted by the addition of significant new technology, including one of the earliest MRI scanners in New York State, and a PET scanner and cyclotron facility that was first not only in New York State but was one of the first on the east coast. Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ), which later merged with North Shore University Hospital, established a functioning Research Committee in 1956, funded by clinical practice income, to support pilot research projects by junior faculty. Shortly after that time, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) was established for protection of human subjects in clinical research - the first one in the area. The first National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants to LIJ faculty were also awarded in 1956. This research support has continued to grow, and in 2000 LIJ received $9.6 million in NIH support for research in psychiatry (including a large Center grant in schizophrenia), pediatric infectious diseases, fetal lung development and respiratory distress in newborns, bone marrow transplantation, oncology, immunology, neurology, pulmonary disease, hemophilia, and nephrology. The Feinstein Institute was established as an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization within the Health System in 1999, but research has been at integral part of the hospital’s history for decades. More than 125,000 people have passed through the health system to participate in research. The institute hosts the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine, and publishes the "Molecular Medicine (journal)". In 2007, Feinstein scientists published more than 300 scientific publications, many in the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals. [see list of publications below]

Major Findings

It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system, shielded from the outside forces of nature. But that’s not how it is at all. In fact, the work of Feinstein director Kevin J. Tracey shows that the brain talks directly to the immune system, sending commands that control the body’s inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases. Understanding this intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response. Tracey discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine.

With this new understanding of the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation, scientists believe that they can tap into the body’s natural healing defenses and calm the abnormal immune response to treat a variety of medical conditions. Tracey has presented his pioneering work to colleagues all over the world.

Betty Diamond is a pioneer in the study of lupus, an autoimmune disease. Her team is unraveling how the disease targets the brain and the body, triggering a laundry list of symptoms that varies from patient to patient. Diamond is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and receives more than $7.5 million annually from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources.

Peter K. Gregersen, and his colleagues at the Feinstein’s Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics & Human Genetics have identified several new genes that put people at risk for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. This collaborative effort resulted in two back-to-back papers published by Gregersen and his colleagues in September 2007 in The New England Journal of Medicine. These findings led to the identification of critical pieces of the molecular puzzle and could ultimately give rise to the next generation of targeted treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The high-powered Illumina gene mapping technology is allowing scientists to run almost 100 samples a day. Each sample provides information on 550,000 polymorphisms, or genetic variants. That’s more than 20 million genotypes a day. Feinstein scientists have also identified key molecular players of the immune system and are designing novel compounds for life-threatening diseases triggered by an abnormal immune response.

David Eidelberg and his colleagues at the Susan & Leonard Feinstein Center for Neurosciences continue to mine brain scanning technology for secrets into several neurodegenerative diseases, most notably Parkinson's and Huntington's. The scans have allowed them to visualize specific brain networks hard hit in Parkinson’s disease and in Huntington’s disease, and follow the changes in these networks as the diseases progress. Such tools will enable doctors to diagnose disease earlier and test the benefit of medicines.

And no other brain disease is as well-known and feared as Alzheimer’s. Scores of Feinstein scientists, under the direction of Peter Davies, scientific director of the Litwin-Zucker Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders, are working every angle of the disease in hopes of preventing a threatening epidemic as Baby-Boomers come of old age. The plaques and tangles may be the sign posts for Alzheimer’s disease, but Dr. Davies says that he believes that researchers at the Feinstein Institute have discovered the road itself. In ground-breaking studies that could lead to new ways to treat the devastating disease, the scientists found that the switch that drives the cell cycle of neurons, which is a one-time event when the neuron is born, is somehow tripped and reactivated late in life. It is this catastrophic occurrence that sets the stage for cell death in the Alzheimer’s brain. Other investigators in his laboratory have identified a novel risk gene for late-onset Alzheimer’s that could be the gene that scientists worldwide have been scrambling to find since the first risk gene, Apo-E4, was identified in 1993. The new gene regulates calcium channels in the brain, and having at least one copy of a particular gene variant puts people at twice the risk of developing the mind-robbing disease at some point in old age.

At A Glance

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

*>30 laboratories
*200 research and clinical scientists
*10 physicians enrolled in The Elmezzi Graduate School for Molecular Medicine

Areas of basic interdisciplinary research

*biochemistry, structural biology and chemistry
*molecular, cell and developmental biology
*immunology, virology and microbiology
*medical sciences and human genetics

Health conditions under study

*Alzheimer’s disease
*autoimmune diseases
*heart disease
*human papillomavirus
*hereditary diseases
*Huntington's disease
*inflammatory diseases
*memory loss with aging
*neurological disorders
*Parkinson's disease
*pediatric diseases
*psychiatric conditions
*rheumatoid arthritis

Current Centers

Investigators are assigned to any of ten different research areas. ::The Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases ::Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics & Human Genetics::The Center for Immunology & Inflammation ::The Center for Oncology & Cell Biology ::Susan and Leonard Feinstein Center for Neuroscience ::The Center for Patient-Oriented Research ::The Center for Translational Psychiatry ::The Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer Disease and Memory Disorders::The Center for Biomedical Sciences::The Center for Experimental Immunology

The Research Laboratories

::Laboratory of Experimental Immunology ::Laboratory of Cytokine Biology ::Laboratory of Papilloma Virus Research ::Laboratory of Biomedical Science ::Laboratory of Fertility Research ::Laboratory of Phytochemical Research ::Laboratory of Orthopedic Research ::Laboratory of Experimental Rheumatology ::The Les Nelkin Memorial Pediatric Oncology Laboratory ::Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Laboratory ::Neuroscience Experimental Therapeutics Program ::Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research and Treatment Program ::Pulmonary Research Laboratory ::Cardiopulmonary Research Laboratory ::Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Research ::Endocrinology Research Laboratory ::Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory ::Laboratory of Breast Cancer Research ::Renal Molecular Research Laboratory ::Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology ::Tumor Cell Biology Laboratory ::Laboratory of Emergency Medicine ::Laboratory of Surgical Research ::Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Facility ::Early-Phase Schizophrenia Center ::The General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) ::Laboratory of Medicinal Biochemistry ::Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry ::Center for Comparative Physiology

Further reading

*Tracey, Kevin J. "Fatal Sequence: The Killer Within", Dana Press, 2005.

elect Scientific Publications from October 31, 2006 to November 1, 2007

*Altamura M, Elvevag B, Blasi G, Bertolino A, Callicott JH, Weinberger DR et al. Dissociating the effects of Sternberg working memory demands in prefrontal cortex. Psychiatry Res 2007; 154(2):103-114.
*Amador-Ortiz C, Lin WL, Ahmed Z, Personett D, Davies P, Duara R et al. TDP-43 immunoreactivity in hippocampal sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Ann Neurol 2007; 61(5):435-445.
*Bauer JW, Baechler EC, Petri M, Batliwalla FM, Crawford D, Ortmann WA et al. Elevated serum levels of interferon-regulated chemokines are biomarkers for active human systemic lupus erythematosus. PLoS Med 2006; 3(12):e491.
*Burdick KE, Goldberg TE, Funke B, Bates JA, Lencz T, Kucherlapati R et al. DTNBP1 genotype influences cognitive decline in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2007; 89(1-3):169-172.
*Carbon M, Eidelberg D. Functional imaging of sequence learning in Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Sci 2006; 248(1-2):72-77.
*Chiorazzi N. Cell proliferation and death: forgotten features of chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 2007; 20(3):399-413.
*Correll CU, Penzner JB, Lencz T, Auther A, Smith CW, Malhotra AK et al. Early identification and high-risk strategies for bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 2007; 9(4):324-338.
*Davies P. A long trek down the pathways of cell death in Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis 2006; 9(3 Suppl):265-269.
*Diamond B, Kowal C, Huerta PT, Aranow C, Mackay M, DeGiorgio LA et al. Immunity and acquired alterations in cognition and emotion: lessons from SLE. Adv Immunol 2006; 89:289-320.
*Feigin A, Eidelberg D. Gene transfer therapy for neurodegenerative disorders. Mov Disord 2007; 22(9):1223-1228.
*Gregersen PK, Behrens TW. Genetics of autoimmune diseases--disorders of immune homeostasis. Nat Rev Genet 2006; 7(12):917-928.
*Gregersen PK. Modern genetics, ancient defenses, and potential therapies. N Engl J Med 2007; 356(12):1263-1266.
*Kane JM, Meltzer HY, Carson WH, Jr., McQuade RD, Marcus RN, Sanchez R. Aripiprazole for treatment-resistant schizophrenia: results of a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, comparison study versus perphenazine. J Clin Psychiatry 2007; 68(2):213-223.
*Kaplitt MG, Feigin A, Tang C, Fitzsimons HL, Mattis P, Lawlor PA et al. Safety and tolerability of gene therapy with an adeno-associated virus (AAV) borne GAD gene for Parkinson's disease: an open label, phase I trial. Lancet 2007; 369(9579):2097-2105.
*Sebat J, Lakshmi B, Malhotra D, Troge J, Lese-Martin C, Walsh T et al. Strong association of de novo copy number mutations with autism. Science 2007; 316(5823):445-449.
*Szeszko PR, Robinson DG, Sevy S, Kumra S, Rupp CI, Betensky JD et al. Anterior cingulate grey-matter deficits and cannabis use in first-episode schizophrenia. Br J Psychiatry 2007; 190:230-236.
*Tracey KJ. Physiology and immunology of the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway. J Clin Invest 2007; 117(2):289-296.


*Karolinska Institute
*Albert Einstein College of Medicine

External links

* [ North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System]
* [ "Molecular Medicine" web site]
* [ "North Shore LIJ hospital" web site]
* [ "Feinstein Institute" web site]
* [ "The Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics" web site]


Kevin J. Tracey, M.D., Director and Chief Executive Officer
Bettie Steinberg, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer
Kathy Mann Finnerty, Assistant Vice President, Clinical Affairs
Christopher J. Czura, Assistant Vice President, Scientific Affairs
Kirk Manogue, PhD, Assistant Vice President, Technology Transfer
Cynthia Hahn, Administrator, Office of Research Compliance

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