NYFIRST Program Continues to Deliver 

This month Governor Hochul announced the fifth round of grant applications from NYFIRST, an AMSNY-founded program that strengthens the research capabilities of medical schools in New York State by investing in the recruitment and retention of exceptional researchers. To date, the program has resulted in more than $86 million in additional funding to the state and has created more than 180 new jobs. The program will soon run out of funds and AMSNY is urging the State to provide a new $25M appropriation to the program that has had a four-fold return on investment.

NYFIRST Researcher Works to Reverse Glaucoma Vision Loss

Simon John, PhD, the Robert L. Burch III Professor of Ophthalmic Sciences at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, was recruited to Columbia four years ago thanks, in part, to a NYFIRST award. Dr. John studies glaucoma, which affects an estimated 75 million people. He initially encountered stiff resistance to his approach, which focuses on treatment with vitamin b and pyruvate. “The resistance provided a challenge, and challenges tend to drive me,” says John, whose methods were eventually accepted and widely adopted. The first clinical trial of this nutrient combination, conducted last year at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, showed that vision loss due to glaucoma, could be restored. Dr. John and his team of 12 are now conducting a clinical trial involving nearly 200 people. “The recruitment of Dr. John clearly demonstrates how the NYFIRST program advances research and helps drive New York’s life sciences economy.” said Jonathan Teyan, President and CEO of AMSNY.