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York Avenue at 68th Street is named Mary Woodard Lasker Way

City Council speaker Gifford Miller unveils the new "Mary Woodard Lasker Way" street sign at the corner of York Avenue and 68th Street.

The block of York Avenue at 68th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which is adjacent to Rockefeller University’s campus, has been named Mary Woodard Lasker Way, in honor of the late champion of biomedical research. A new street sign, which hangs at the southeast corner of the intersection, was unveiled at a ceremony this morning. Among those attending were Neen Hunt, president of the Lasker Foundation, James Fordyce, chairman of the Lasker Foundation, Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Nancy Wexler, Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, Jim Darnell, head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, and Gifford Miller, City Council speaker. Miller, who represents the Upper East Side, was the sponsor of a bill that authorized the naming.

Lasker was the pre-eminent citizen-leader in a five-decade quest to secure public support for medical research funding in America, earning her the title of “First Lady of Medical Research.” The legacy of Lasker, who died in 1994, was a lifetime of powerful influence on health and science in America through her indefatigable lobbying of Presidents and Congressional leaders to expand the National Institutes of Health. With husband Albert, an advertising powerhouse, they conceived and administered the prestigious Albert Lasker Awards for Medical Research – the top U.S. science prize, often known as “America’s Nobel.”

Nineteen scientists affiliated with Rockefeller have won Lasker Awards since 1946, including Darnell and Rockefeller University President Paul Nurse.