Celebrities and Astronauts to “Show up for Science” at the NYSCF Gala & Science Fair

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NEW YORK, Oct. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Hosted by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD and featuring appearances from world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Martha Stewart, actors Annaleigh Ashford, Lilli Cooper, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Santino Fontana, Victor Garber, Jane Krakowski, Kelli O’Hara, Billy Porter, Seth Rogen, and John Slattery, among others, The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute’s first-ever virtual gala is streaming online on the evening of October 27th. Open to the public and free for all who would like to watch, guests can register at www.nyscf.org/gala.

Under the theme “Show Up for Science,” the program will re-imagine the Science Fair, a signature element of NYSCF’s traditional gala at which guests meet and talk with NYSCF Research Institute scientists, turning it into an online experience as special celebrity guests like Garber, Krakowski, and Ferguson interview scientists and learn about the latest updates and breakthroughs in stem cell research. The Gala will bring the world of the NYSCF Research Institute laboratories to life, this year in a multi-platform digital experience produced by Broadway Director Scott Ellis with Music by Tree Adams and Andrew Schuyler.

The Gala also honors the three 2020 NYSCF Stem Cell Heroes: internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry; bioethicist and patient advocate Brooke Ellison, PhD, and award-winning architect and designer David Rockwell.

The 2020 NYSCF Research Institute Gala and Science Fair experience will also include NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor, MD, PhD, and Peggy Whitson, PhD, talking about stem cell research in space and about what this can mean for stem cell research. In Garber’s segment, he will talk with NYSCF Senior Vice President of Research Scott Noggle, PhD, on how stem cells can help find a cure for diabetes, while Krakowski will discuss the basics of stem cells and how they are being used to study and fight COVID-19 with NYSCF Vice President, Automation Systems & Stem Cell Biology Daniel Paull, PhD.

The program will also include Ferguson speaking with NYSCF Principal Investigator Laura Andres-Martin, PhD, about NYSCF’s new cutting-edge research on women’s reproductive cancers, and NYSCF scientists Howard Kim, PhD, and Cecile Terrenoire, PhD will also share an update on NYSCF’s macular degeneration stem cell therapy.

The 75-minute program will focus on education about science, using entertainment as a means to help viewers understand scientific concepts. It will also feature a short performance in honor of Frank Gehry by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and a comedy skit by Fontana and Ashford.

Frank Gehry is perhaps the world’s most celebrated living architect, known for his designs of landmark buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. The Los Angeles-based architect, whose buildings are known for the sweeping shapes and dramatic silhouettes, has won the Pritzker Prize, long considered the architecture profession’s equivalent of the Nobel, as well as the Praemium Imperiale in Japan and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Frank has also dedicated himself to philanthropic work throughout his long career with numerous pro bono design projects in the arts, and he has had a longstanding engagement with medical research. NYSCF is honored to count Frank as a steadfast supporter of its mission to accelerate better treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases of our time through stem cell research.

David Rockwell is the founder and President of the Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary and innovative architecture and design firm based in New York with offices in Los Angeles and Madrid, with work that ranges from restaurant and hotel design to cultural and educational institutions, theaters, and stage sets, to self-initiated pro bono projects supporting New York City during times of crisis. Ten years ago, David conceptualized the first Science Fair at a NYSCF Gala, and for many years he designed the environment that simulates the NYSCF Research Institute Laboratories and allows benefit guests to meet and mingle with NYSCF scientists. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his groundbreaking work, including a Tony Award in 2016 for set design, and NYSCF is honored to recognize his dedication, creativity, and talent for making cutting-edge science come alive each fall.

Brooke Ellison, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University, and the Director of Education and Ethics at the Stony Brook Stem Cell Facility. An expert in stem cell research policy and ethics, and longtime patient and disability advocate, Brooke has dedicated her professional career to changing the perception of life-saving science. Paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator since age eleven following an accident, Brook has surmounted innumerable hurdles to achieve her goals, including serving on the Empire State Stem Cell Board, which designed New York State’s stem cell policy. NYSCF is proud to recognize Brooke’s tireless efforts to bring the promise of stem cell research to fruition, and for her advocacy for people in need of better solutions.

“Scientific research is more important than ever, particularly now in the midst of a global pandemic,” stated NYSCF Research Institute CEO and Founder Susan L. Solomon. “I am thrilled that we are able to bring our research to life through this digital medium, and to honor our three incredible stem cell heroes. Private philanthropy is the fuel that drives our scientific success, and the Gala and Science Fair celebration highlight both the importance of our work and the promise of stem cell research around the world.”

About The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent non-profit organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 190 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including the NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array® and in manufacturing stem cells for scientists around the globe. NYSCF focuses on translational research in an accelerator model designed to overcome barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration. For more information, visit www.nyscf.org.

David McKeon
212-365-7440
dmckeon@nyscf.org

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SOURCE The New York Stem Cell Foundation

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