Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) hosted the 15th annual Double Helix Medals event on November 17, 2020, raising $4.4 million to support basic research. The virtual gala highlighted the various innovative research and educational initiatives happening at CSHL.
Host Lesley Stahl discussed COVID-19 efforts with Dr. George Yancopoulos, founding scientist, president, and chief scientific officer of Regeneron. They spoke about the role of CSHL in the scientific community. “CSHL is one of the most unique science environments in the world, bringing people together,” Yancopoulos said. “I brought my kids to the DNA Learning Center, and it’s life-changing. We wanted to bring that to our community in Westchester, and no one better to partner with than the people who created the DNA Learning Center.”
Stahl interviewed Professor Tony Zador on the groundbreaking NeuroAI program, which brings together artificial intelligence (AI) experts and neuroscientists. The goal is to develop next-generation artificial neural network systems. “The kinds of things we’re going to be able to do with these new AI algorithms will be transformative,” Zador said. She also spoke to Assistant Director of External Collaborations at the DNA Learning Center Jason Williams on the importance of science education and how students continue to learn during a pandemic. Williams described the new DNALC in Brooklyn that will open in 2021.
CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman summarized on-going research in cancer, genetics, neuroscience, plant biology, and quantitative biology, as well as CSHL’s contributions to the fight against COVID-19. “The staggering effects of COVID-19 compelled us to join together with the scientific community and apply our expertise,” said Stillman. “As the pandemic unfolded, a number of our laboratories responded, and currently, they are developing novel testing strategies and therapeutic strategies.”
In 2021, CSHL will hold the 16th annual Double Helix Medals dinner (DHMD) and honor Regeneron’s Dr. Len Schleifer and Dr. George Yancopoulos and science education advocate Reggie Jackson for their contributions to research and science advocacy.
The 2020 Double Helix Medals event was chaired by Ms. Jamie C. Nicholls and Mr. O. Francis Biondi, Jr., Drs. Marilyn and James Simons, Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Lindsay, and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Taubman. Since the first DHMD honored Muhammad Ali in 2006, the event has raised over $50 million for the Laboratory’s biological research and education programs.