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Big bold dreamers

HT Winter 2018 photo by Sean Zanni/PMC

2018 Double Helix Medal honoree Dr. Larry Norton has dedicated his career to ridding the world of cancer. Under the belly of the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History, he reminded us that big dreams can come true. Larry shared childhood memories of visiting the museum with his mother. Pulling on her sleeve, the young Larry asked her something that sounded impossible: can I have a party under the whale? I am pleased that Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) made his wish come true.

Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mr. Mark Zuckerberg are also big dreamers. We honored them for their bold work to promote collaborative science. The mission of the multi-billion dollar Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of this century. Priscilla and Mark are the pioneers of the prestigious Breakthrough Prize.

Also referred to as the “Oscars of Science,” this significant prize recognizes scientists who are making the biggest impacts in their fields. Just a week before the Double Helix Medals dinner, CSHL Professor Adrian Krainer shared the Breakthrough Prize with C. Frank Bennett of Ionis Pharmaceuticals. Their academic-industry collaboration developed the first FDA-approved drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Priscilla, Mark, Larry, Adrian, and Frank not only dream, they pursue their dreams with relentless determination. Similarly, you can read about CSHL investigators Doug Fearon and Mikala Egeblad, who are determined to bring the power the immune system to bear on cancers.

The success of our DNA Learning Center‘s citizen science projects gives us hope that this scientific drive and curiosity is carried forward by our world’s youth. Read about the New York City-wide DNA barcoding project carried out by high school students this year, revealing secrets about the Big Apple’s biodiversity.

None of our research and education programs would be possible without the leadership of our Board of Trustees. On behalf of the entire CSHL community, I thank our outgoing Board Chair, Jamie C. Nicholls, for eight years of extraordinary service. During her tenure, we have achieved big milestones in infrastructure growth and financial strength. We are honored that Marilyn Simons, who chaired our record-breaking 125the Anniversary Capital Campaign, has been elected the new Board Chair.

Let’s continue to dream big about what science can do for the world.

— Bruce Stillman
President’s message
Harbor Transcript Volume 38, Issue 2, 2018