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Pioneering Rehabilitation

Burke Medical Research Institute Announces Opening of New Research Laboratories to be Used for Brain Repair

Released August 28, 2012

WHITE PLAINS, NY – August 28, 2012 – For decades, the notion of being able to repair the brain has been limited to science fiction. But the gap between current neurological research and the seemingly far-fetched ideas read about in novels and seen on film is narrowing. New developments at the Burke Medical Research Institute—the research entity of the Burke Rehabilitation Center and Weill Cornell Medical College—promise to bring new understanding to the problem of brain and spinal cord injury rewiring to solve brain damage from stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury—the leading causes of disability in the U.S.

Burke has invested more than $7 million on the renovation of its research laboratories, increasing its regenerative medicine research laboratories to more than 40,000 square feet. That, along with the recruitment of world-class scientists and clinician-scientists, promises to bring "cure" to the common language regarding neurological disability.

To celebrate Burke's commitment to solving the problems of brain repair, the Institution will commemorate the opening of its Regenerative Medicine Laboratories at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14. The official ceremony and ribbon cutting will take place on the Burke campus, 785 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains, at the Sturgis building. Members of the media and community are invited to attend.
The ribbon cutting will be followed by a poster session where Burke research scientists will discuss various aspects of their research and how this research will help to win the battle against disability caused by neurological disease. The Regenerative Medicine Laboratories, which are currently fully operational, are an integral part of the Medical Research Institute's goal of reducing disability from neurological diseases such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury and disease, and other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

After the poster sessions, members of the media and the general public are invited to take part in tours of the new facility and to learn more about the medical research being conducted at the institute. Burke Medical Research Institute is one of the only free-standing research institutes on the same campus as its dedicated hospital, enabling patients to have access to cutting-edge research discoveries and clinical trials during their rehabilitation and recovery.

According to Rajiv R. Ratan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Burke Medical Research Institute and professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College, "The goal of the Burke Medical Research Institute is to provide the necessary tools necessary to reduce neurological disability, which happens to be the number one cause of disability in the United States. The opening of the Regenerative Medicine Laboratories will bring us one step closer to achieving our main objective of reducing or eliminating disability caused by disease and illness."

The important work of Burke's research scientists is known not only in the medical and academic fields but in the political arena as well. "I am so proud that with this expansion of Burke Medical Rehabilitation Institute, Westchester County will continue to lead the way in cutting-edge research on debilitating neurological diseases and conditions," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland). "I am confident that the research conducted at the Regenerative Medicine Laboratories will lead to crucial advancements in reducing neurological disability, and I look forward to working with Burke scientists and leadership for many years to come."

Burke currently has more than 20 full-time researchers at the institute, who all have the prestigious designation of Cornell faculty member as well. These scientists work collaboratively with each other and scientists worldwide in areas such as neurological regeneration, vision restoration, pain and motor recovery. The scientific efforts at Burke are complemented by a strong working relationship with Cornell University and its associated medical school. "Westchester prides itself on being New York's Intellectual Capital," added County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "The opening of its Regenerative Medicine Laboratories in White Plains demonstrates Burke's commitment to cutting edge research. Westchester County is proud to support Burke's growth and ongoing goal of finding treatments to neurological and other diseases."

"The Regenerative Medicine Laboratories at Burke Rehabilitation Center are a tremendous investment for Westchester County," U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said. "This is a great opportunity for New York to stay on the cutting edge of medical advancements in the fight against neurological disability while creating and sustaining jobs in the region."

Founded in 1978 as the medical research affiliate of the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, the Burke Medical Research Institute is one of the only free-standing rehabilitation research facilities with dedicated programs in basic research (understanding how the normal brain functions and how it is affected by disease), translational research (understanding how to bring basic research to the patient bedside), and clinical research (testing of new therapies in patients). These research endeavors are funded by private donations and through highly competitive grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health and private and public foundations.

For more information about the ribbon cutting event for the Regenerative Medicine Laboratories, please contact Vicki Accumanno at (914) 597-2551 or via email at vaccumanno@burke.org. For more information about the Burke Medical Research Institute, please visit www.burke.org/research. Members of the media who are interested in attending the ribbon cutting should call Richard Sgaglio at (914) 597-2491 for more information and to schedule a tour.

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a private, not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital. Founded in 1915, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to rehabilitation medicine. Burke offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or joint replacement surgery. Burke is both an acute rehabilitation hospital and medical research center. Burke's world renowned doctors and therapists provide state-of-the-art treatment, while its research scientists at the Burke Medical Research Institute explore the frontiers of neurological and rehabilitation medicine. All share the Burke mission to ensure that every patient makes the fullest possible recovery from illness or injury regardless of their ability to pay.