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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory brings New York’s business elite up to speed on the personal genome

Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, CSHL Board Chairman, Eduardo Mestre, CSHL President, Bruce Stillman
Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, CSHL Board Chairman, Eduardo Mestre, CSHL President, Bruce Stillman

New York, NY — The much-heralded era of personalized medicine holds great hope for the future of healthcare in America. But a great deal of fundamental biological research remains to be performed, and many discoveries made, before it will be possible to tailor medical treatments for vast populations of people on a case-by-case basis across major disease categories.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), the world-renowned research and education institution on Long Island—where molecular biology was born in the years following World War II—is developing key technologies and conducting research that is paving the way for the coming era of individualized medicine. Recently, the Laboratory declared “Personal Genomes” to be the theme of the CSHL’s members-only 2009 President’s Council program.

The announcement was made at an April 16 reception hosted in the Manhattan apartment of CSHL Board Chairman Eduardo Mestre, who is Vice Chairman of Evercore Partners and his wife Dr. Gillian Shepherd, who is an allergy and immunology specialist affiliated with New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital. Guests invited to participate in the salon atmosphere of intellectual curiosity mingled with CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., Nobel laureate James D. Watson, Ph.D., and special guests Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, co-founders of the genome sequencing company 23andMe.

The CSHL President’s Council, which includes a wide range of New York’s intellectual, business, and medical leaders, meets biannually to explore the public impact of timely scientific topics. With 23andMe and competitors promoting a new service that sequences select areas of an individual’s genome for as little as $399, this year’s topic is likely to open a wide-ranging discussion on the potential benefits of sequencing individual genomes.  Sergey Brin, Wojcicki’s husband and Google co-founder, is said to have altered his lifestyle after having his own genome sequenced by 23andMe. According to Wojcicki, Brin took a new and active interest in his own health when he learned he had a gene variant implicated in Parkinson’s disease.

“The topic of ‘Personal Genomes’ is critically important to how we move forward as a society with healthcare, including issues ranging from medical services, regulation, and insurance,” explained Mr. Mestre. “The CSHL President’s Council provides a forum for non-scientists like me to discuss the latest in science with experts who include the top scientists from CSHL.”

“Genetic testing is evolving into a critical source of information for making healthcare decisions,” said CSHL President Bruce Stillman. “It is a mission of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to inform the public regarding scientific accomplishments that have a direct impact on people’s lives.”

Members* of the CSHL President’s Council support the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellows program, which awards promising young scientists an opportunity to conduct independent research immediately following receipt of their Ph.D.

*2008/9 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory President’s Council members include:
Mr. David G. P. Allan
Ms. Amy Anthony
Mr. and Mrs. Donald Everett Axinn
Mr. and Mrs. Hans E.R. Bosch
Dr. Gerald Chan
Mr. Richard Baron Cohen
Mr. and Mrs. George W.Cutting, Jr.
Mr. Michel David-Weill
Mrs. Kathryn Wasserman Davis
Mr. and Mrs. Yves C. de Balmann
Mr. David B. Ford
Mr. and Mrs. John H. Friedman
Dr. Leo A. Guthart
Mr. Matthew Haines
Mr. and Mrs. Ira Hazan
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Campbell Jackson
Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Kissinger
Mr. and Mrs. David H. Koch
Drs. Marsha and Henry Laufer
Dr. Betsy and Mr. Bryan H. Lawrence
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Lehrman
Mrs. George N. Lindsay
Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Lindsay
Dr. Gillian and Mr. Eduardo Mestre
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Miller
Mr. and Mrs. Frank T. O’Keefe
Mr. George Ohrstrom
Mr. and Mrs. John C. Phelan
Mr. and Mrs. Roderick N. Reed
Mr. and Mrs. David Rubenstein
Mr. and Mrs. Luis E. Rinaldini
Mr. and Mrs. Alan Seligson
Drs. Marilyn and James Simons
Mr. and Mrs. Erwin P. Staller
Mrs. Cynthia R. Stebbins
Dr. and Mrs. James M. Stone
Dr. and Mrs. Jerome Swartz
Mrs. Robert W. Tilney
Mr. and Mrs. Howard J. Tytel
Dr. and Mrs. James D. Watson
Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wong

Written by: Dagnia Zeidlickis, Vice President, Communications | publicaffairs@cshl.edu | 516-367-8455

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About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu