The Hartwell Foundation


2010 Third Annual Meeting Biomedical Research

September 26-29: Ithaca, NY

The Hartwell Foundation held its third Annual Meeting on Biomedical Research on September 26-29 at the Statler Hotel on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. Thirty-seven scientists, engineers and clinicians (Individual Award recipients from 2007, 2008 and 2009 and Collaboration Award recipients from 2008 and 2009), attended from 12 different centers of excellence for biomedical research in the United States. Each Hartwell Investigator reviewed progress toward achieving the aims of their proposed research. In the spirit of The Hartwell Foundation, investigators revealed their triumphs, occasional frustrations, and their solutions to overcoming impediments. These non-competitive intellectual and technical exchanges reflect how collaboration and leveraging resources benefit everyone, a key tenet of The Hartwell Foundationís approach to fostering research among its awardees.

All meeting participants enjoyed hearing about the broad scope of innovative research currently supported by The Hartwell Foundation. The group heard about breakthroughs in drugs for necrotizing enterocolitis, identification of causes of gastroschisis, cutting edge research on the gut microbiome, relationships between inflammation and obesity, and new approaches to predicting premature birth. Several approaches to therapy for Type 1 diabetes were reported, including the use of innovative bioengineered probiotics and cell replacement therapy. Advances were reported in "knifeless" surgery in utero to correct a heart defect, the origins solid tumors and the delivery of drug therapy across the blood-brain barrier, tissue engineering of heart valves, bone growth related to craniosynostosis, and broad spectrum vaccine development. Biomedical engineering advances were reported for rapid diagnosis of disease detection, nano-devices to reduce risk of neonatal pneumonia and imaging tools for early detection of visual disorders. Progress was reported in understanding the neurobiology of emotional dysregulation and autism spectrum disorders. Gene-disease relationships and approaches for correcting genetic disorders were among the highlights.

On the Wednesday morning following two full days of scientific presentations, everyone gathered at Cornell University Weill Hall and the Department of Biomedical Engineering to hear faculty presentations on their use of teleconference technology to link engineering and surgery; advances in treating neurological disease and the use of lasers to treat epilepsy; biorobotics to control the flight of moths; and the advantages of fluorescent nanoparticles for bioimaging. Following the presentations, everyone enjoyed a lunch hosted by the leaders of Cornell University.

The Hartwell Foundation seeks to inspire innovation and achievement by offering individual scientists and engineers an opportunity to develop solutions to problems commonly perceived as too risky to fund by conventional funding agencies. Through a unique and selective process, the Foundation provides financial support to stimulate early-stage biomedical research that it hopes can and will benefit children of the United States.