Opportunities to Support Science
The university offers a wide range of opportunities for benefactors to support science. The options listed below can be funded and named in accordance with a benefactor’s wishes.
Professorships for Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty
Establishing a chair for a distinguished professor at The Rockefeller University is one of the most valuable investments a benefactor can make in biomedicine. The highest recognition the University can bestow on a faculty member is the creation of a professorial chair, named in perpetuity in accordance with the donor’s wishes.
A gift to create a named laboratory helps faculty advance their research. The University’s 81 independent laboratories conduct a broad spectrum of research in cell and developmental biology, biochemistry and structural biology, immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, medical sciences, and human genetics.
The University offers advanced training for outstanding recent graduates of doctoral programs in biology or medicine, as well as for chemists and physicists whose interests focus on the life sciences. These Postdoctoral Fellows are full participants in the research process, working in collaboration with lab heads in the development of basic and translational research programs. Investigators who have completed postdoctoral studies at Rockefeller hold key positions at major research institutions and medical schools around the world.
Among the prestigious fellowships that have been created in recent years are the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fellowships, for physicists tackling biological questions, and the John C. Whitehead Presidential Fellowship, for a promising early-career scientist working in any field.
The University’s David Rockefeller Graduate Program stresses laboratory research and tutorial study. More than 200 of Rockefeller’s 1,200 alumni are senior professors at institutions worldwide, and at least 60 head departments or programs at leading institutions. Thirty-one Rockefeller graduates are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and two have won the Nobel Prize.
Supporting Fundamental Science
Venture Funds for Novel Ideas
Many of the 24 Nobel laureates associated with The Rockefeller University have told variations on the same story: They worked for years on projects that yielded few immediate rewards, often eliciting skepticism from their fellow scientists and funding agencies. They were able to persevere only because the University supported them. They were given the resources they needed to attempt experiments that defied conventional wisdom, to risk failure, and to rethink their hypotheses if things did not work out quickly. With patience and venture funding, these scientists made transformative discoveries—in genetics, cell biology, neuroscience, protein chemistry, and immunology, among other fields—that have changed the course of science and medicine.
Venture Funds for Novel Collaborations
Venture funds for Novel Collaborations support projects undertaken by two or more laboratories that, often, are working on a scientific problem from the perspectives of different disciplines.
Funds for Emerging Technologies
Transformative discoveries in the life sciences often depend on the emergence of revolutionary technologies. Today, lab technology development is being driven by the convergence of multiple disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, and even nanotechnology. Advanced tools may be acquired by individual laboratories or be housed in resource centers for shared use. Some laboratories build and implement instruments of their own design.
A named fund to support emerging technologies will ensure that investigators have access to essential scientific instruments as well as advice and training in the use of these tools.
Support for the University’s Core Resource Centers
Rockefeller University has established more than a dozen core resource centers to provide advanced laboratory instrumentation for shared use—with an emphasis on equipment too costly or complex for individual labs to acquire or manage on their own. Examples of technologies offered by resource centers include:
- Bio-Imaging: The Frits and Rita Markus Bio-Imaging Resource Center offers 18 advanced optical microscopes and several image processing workstations for shared use.
- Cryo-Electron Microscopy: The Evelyn Gruss Lipper Cryo-Electron Microscopy Resource Center, one of the first of its kind in academia, houses new instruments that allow for the visualization of three-dimensional structures of molecules and macromolecular complexes.
- Genomics: This center houses three high-throughput sequencers, instrumentation for microarray analysis, and a new instrument for single-cell DNA and RNA sequencing.
- High-Throughput Screening: This center provides offers automated assays to identify molecules with specific biological activity—techniques used in basic research as well as drug discovery. There are more than 250,000 test compounds in the center’s library.
- Precision Fabrication: This facility provides equipment and software that investigators can use to design and build custom apparatus and instrument parts for research. Available technologies include computer numerical control (CNC) milling, laser cutting/etching, and three-dimensional printing.
- Proteomics: This center offers the latest instrumentation for mass spectrometry, which is used in the discovery, classification, and analysis of biomolecular compounds. The center also provides protein synthesis and other laboratory needs.
A gift in support of a core resource center will support a range of studies across several Rockefeller laboratories.
Supporting Translational Research
The Rockefeller University is widely regarded as the world’s leading institution in basic research. Today, Rockefeller is also a global leader and innovator in translational research, with a number of grant programs that complement and capitalize on the resources of our extraordinary research hospital.
Pilot Grants in Translational Research
The University’s Pilot Grants Program, under the auspices of The Rockefeller University Hospital, is a critically important source of funding for early-stage research that can lead to medical applications. Awarded competitively, pilot grants often help investigators to design and carry through their first protocols involving human subjects. These grants can also lead to the findings needed to secure support for additional studies.
Rockefeller’s constellation of world-class scientists are working on an extensive and diverse number of diseases. Through the establishment of a disease directed fund, a benefactor can support research in a specific area of study or disorder.