Yesterday, the Yale School of Medicine hosted a symposium featuring talks by distinguished members in the fields of pharmacology and medical research. “New Frontiers in Molecular Pharmacology and Medicine,” celebrated the opening of the Department of Pharmacology’s new wing, which provides three floors of new lab space, and enables the department to expand its faculty.

In his opening remarks, President Levin referred to Yale’s ongoing effort to renovate research facilities on the YSM campus, including a systematic overhaul of the Sterling Hall of Medicine.

“We’re really committed to expanding the infrastructure of the Yale School of Medicine,” Levin said. “There’s an outstanding research environment here.”

The new wing is an addition to the Hall’s B-Wing and provides cutting-edge research space for Dr. Joseph Schlessinger, the Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology. In addition, labs are provided for four new assistant professors, two of whom have already been hired.

Pharmacology is one of the fastest growing areas in science research, according to a press release. Schlessinger said the new extension will allow Yale to greatly expand its research ventures in this developing field.

“We have more space, the old space has been entirely renovated, and everything is modernized,” Schlessinger said. “We are trying to have the most cutting-edge technology, tools and equipment — and if these would not make a difference, what would?”

Acting Dean of YSM Dr. Dennis Spencer commented on the historical strength of Yale’s Department of Pharmacology and the practical applications for modern medicine in its study at Yale.

“The Department of Pharmacology has been a major strength at Yale School of Medicine for many years,” Spencer said. “[This expansion facilitates] moving basic discovery today into targeted molecular therapy tomorrow.”

One of the two new assistant professors, Dr. Ya Ha, praised the design and resources of the new space. He has been in the new labs for about a year.

“Certainly it provides new space, and it’s well designed,” Ha said. “It’s certainly a very good lab space and office space.”

Speakers at the symposium included Noble Prize winners in Medicine, Dr. Joseph Goldstein, Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Dr. Paul Greengard of Rockefeller University. Other lecturers included Dr. Tony Hunter of the Salk Institute and Dr. Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale.

“[Speakers were chosen] based on their contributions to the field of interest,” Schlessinger said. “They’re all major players in important fields of biology and medicine.”

Schlessinger said that while the expansion will not directly effect undergraduates, the strengthened graduate resources should benefit the entire Yale community.

“It would have a greater effect on medical students and graduate students,” Schlessinger said. “But if there’s a good graduate program, the effect trickles down.”

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